What is ||ell?


||ell (Hell)



a. often Hell The abode of condemned souls and devils in some religions; the place of eternal punishment for the wicked after death, presided over by Satan.

b. A state of separation from God; exclusion from God's presence.

2. The abode of the dead, identified with the Hebrew Sheol and the Greek Hades; the underworld.

3. A situation or place of evil, misery, discord, or destruction: “War is hell” (William Tecumseh Sherman).


a. The powers of darkness and evil.

b. Informal. One that causes trouble, agony, or annoyance: The boss is hell when a job is poorly done.

5. A sharp scolding: gave the student hell for cheating.

6. Informal. Excitement, mischievousness, or high spirits: We did it for the sheer hell of it.


a. A tailor's receptacle for discarded material.

b. Printing. A hellbox.

8. Informal. Used as an intensive: How the hell can I go? You did one hell of a job.

9. Archaic. A gambling house.

10. An original member of the Battle Off-Topic Forum.

intr.v. Informal helled, hell·ing, hells

To behave riotously; carouse: out all night helling around.


Used to express anger, disgust, or impatience.


for the hell of it

For no particular reason; on a whim: walked home by the old school for the hell of it.

hell on Informal

1. Damaging or destructive to: Driving in a hilly town is hell on the brakes.

2. Unpleasant to or painful for.

hell or/and high water

Troubles or difficulties of whatever magnitude: We're staying, come hell or high water.

hell to pay

Great trouble: If we're wrong, there'll be hell to pay.

like hell Informal

1. Used as an intensive: He ran like hell to catch the bus.

2. Used to express strong contradiction or refusal: He says he's going along with usLike hell he is!


Middle English helle, from Old English. See kel-1 in Indo-European Roots.

Word History: Hell comes to us directly from Old English hel. Because the Roman Church prevailed in England from an early date, the Romanthat is, Mediterraneanbelief that hell was hot prevailed there too; in Old English hel is a black and fiery place of eternal torment for the damned. But because the Vikings were converted to Christianity centuries after the Anglo-Saxons, the Old Norse hel, from the same source as Old English hel, retained its earlier pagan senses as both a place and a person. As a place, hel is the abode of oathbreakers, other evil persons, and those unlucky enough not to have died in battle. It contrasts sharply with Valhalla, the hall of slain heroes. Unlike the Mediterranean hell, the Old Norse hel is very cold. Hel is also the name of the goddess or giantess who presides in hel, the half blue-black, half white daughter of Loki and the giantess Angrbotha. The Indo-European root behind these Germanic words is *kel-, “to cover, conceal” (so hell is the “concealed place”); it also gives us hall, hole, hollow, and helmet.


Hell, n. AS. hell; akin to D. hel, OHG. hella, G. h"olle, Icel. hal, Sw. helfvete, Dan. helvede, Goth. halja, and to AS. helan to conceal. ???. Cf. Hele, v. t., Conceal, Cell, Helmet, Hole, Occult.] 1. The place of the dead, or of souls after death; the grave; -- called in Hebrew sheol, and by the Greeks hades.

He descended into hell. --Book of Common Prayer.

Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell. --Ps. xvi. 10.

2. The place or state of punishment for the wicked after death; the abode of evil spirits. Hence, any mental torment; anguish. ``Within him hell.'' --Milton.

It is a knell That summons thee to heaven or to hell. --Shak.

3. A place where outcast persons or things are gathered; as: (a) A dungeon or prison; also, in certain running games, a place to which those who are caught are carried for detention. (b) A gambling house. ``A convenient little gambling hell for those who had grown reckless.'' --W. Black. (c) A place into which a tailor throws his shreds, or a printer his broken type. --Hudibras.

Gates of hell. (Script.) See Gate, n., 4.

Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc.


Hell, v. t. To overwhelm. Obs. --Spenser.

Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc.


n 1: (Christianity) the abode of Satan and the forces of evil; where sinners suffer eternal punishment: "Hurl'd headlong...To bottomless perdition, there to dwell"- John Milton; "a demon from the depths of the pit" syn: Hell, perdition, Inferno, infernal region, nether region, the pitant: Heaven 2: any place of pain and turmoil: "the hell of battle"; "the inferno of the engine room"; "when you're alone Christmas is the pits"; syn: hell on earth, the pits, inferno 3: (in various religions) the world of the dead; "he didn't want to go to hell when he died" syn: Hel, Hell, Hades, infernal region, netherworld, Scheol, underworld 4: a cause of difficulty and suffering; "war is hell"; "go to blazes" syn: blaze 5: (colloquial) violent and excited activity; "they began to fight like sin" syn: sin 6: noisy and unrestrained mischief; "raising blazes" syn: blaze

Source: WordNet ® 1.6, © 1997 Princeton University


derived from the Saxon helan, to cover; hence the covered or the invisible

place. In Scripture there are three words so rendered: (1.) Sheol, occurring in

the Old Testament sixty-five times. This word sheol is derived from a root-word

meaning "to ask," "demand;" hence insatiableness (Prov. 30:15, 16). It is

rendered "grave" thirty-one times (Gen. 37:35; 42:38; 44:29, 31; 1 Sam. 2:6,

etc.). The Revisers have retained this rendering in the historical books with

the original word in the margin, while in the poetical books they have reversed

this rule. In thirty-one cases in the Authorized Version this word is rendered

"hell," the place of disembodied spirits. The inhabitants of sheol are "the

congregation of the dead" (Prov. 21:16). It is (a) the abode of the wicked

(Num. 16:33; Job 24:19; Ps. 9:17; 31:17, etc.); (b) of the good (Ps. 16:10;

30:3; 49:15; 86:13, etc.). Sheol is described as deep (Job 11:8), dark (10:21,

22), with bars (17:16). The dead "go down" to it (Num. 16:30, 33; Ezek. 31:15,

16, 17).

(2.) The Greek word hades of the New Testament has the same scope of

signification as sheol of the Old Testament. It is a prison (1 Pet. 3:19), with

gates and bars and locks (Matt. 16:18; Rev. 1:18), and it is downward (Matt.

11:23; Luke 10:15). The righteous and the wicked are separated. The blessed

dead are in that part of hades called paradise (Luke 23:43). They are also said

to be in Abraham's bosom (Luke 16:22).

(3.) Gehenna, in most of its occurrences

in the Greek New Testament, designates the place of the lost (Matt. 23:33). The

fearful nature of their condition there is described in various figurative

expressions (Matt. 8:12; 13:42; 22:13; 25:30; Luke 16:24, etc.). (See


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