Etymology: Middle English, from Old English; akin to Old English helan to conceal, Old High German helan, Latin celare, Greek kalyptein
Date: before 12th century
(1) a nether world in which the dead continue to exist ; Hades
(2) the nether realm of the devil and the demons in which the damned suffer everlasting punishment — often used in curses <go to hell> or as a generalized term of abuse <the hell with it> b. Christian Science error 2b, sin 2. a. a place or state of misery, torment, or wickedness <war is hell — W. T. Sherman> b. a place or state of turmoil or destruction <all hell broke loose> c. a severe scolding; also flak, grief <gave me hell for coming in late> d. unrestrained fun or sportiveness <the kids were full of hell> — often used in the phrase for the hell of it especially to suggest action on impulse or without a serious motive <decided to go for the hell of it> e. an extremely unpleasant and often inescapable situation <rush-hour hell> 3. archaic a tailor's receptacle 4. — used as an interjection <hell, I don't know!> or as an intensive <hurts like hell> <funny as hell> — often used in the phrase hell of a <it was one hell of a good fight> or hell out of <scared the hell out of him> or with the or in <moved way the hell up north> <what in hell is wrong, now?>
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.