Green’s Dictionary of Slang

helluva adj.

also elluva, heckuva, hellova, helluf
[representation of hell of a, a under hell n.]

a general intensifier.

[Aus]Sydney Sportsman (Surry Hills, NSW) 2 Mar. 3/1: [He] wanted to let the barber, know what a helovafeller he was.
[Aus]Sydney Sportsman (Surry Hills, NSW) 27 Apr. 7/5: There was a elluva row, much slanguage, and a vast concourse of cursing, struggling young men.
[US]Goodwin’s Wkly (Salt Lake City, UT) 16 Oct. 6/1: They have all put me in a helluva fix [...] And now I can’t vote for any of them.
[US]C.E. Piesbergen Overseas with an Aero Squadron 61: After a big time in Bar-le-Duc you had a helluva hill between you and camp.
[US]N. Putnam West Broadway 77: It occurred to us that all those things we had brought was going to be [...] a hellova nuisance.
[US]Hartford Courant (CT) 10 Dec. 11/2: ‘You’ve helped me a helluf a lot, Bill’.
[UK](con. WW1) P. MacDonald Patrol 136: ‘If we on’y had some rum I’d make yer blind. Do yer an ’elluva lot of good’.
[US]Hecht & MacArthur Front Page Act II: I had a helluva time getting a taxi.
[UK]E. Glyn Flirt and Flapper 70: Flirt: What are highbrows? Flapper: They’re just a nuisance and prevent you from having a helluva time.
[US]J. Spenser Limey 63: A helluva bunch of ’em ain’t even seen him.
[US]O. Strange Sudden Takes the Trail 14: Helluva note, ringin’ in a perishin’ tramp.
[US]W. Winchell On Broadway 24 Mar. [synd. col.] Heckuva dogfight still goin on over at the Esseepee.
[Ire](con. 1890s) S. O’Casey Pictures in the Hallway 109: It musta been a helluva shock to the best of them to have read that Jesus wept.
[US]N. Cassady letter in Charters (1993) 203: Making a hellova noise [...] split the screen enough to open the window.
[US]C. Chessman Cell 2455 4: Thatsa heckuva way to get pie.
[Aus]D. Niland Big Smoke 115: Everybody knew her as one helluva good sport.
[WI]V.S. Naipaul A House For Mr Biswas 160: Hell, hell, helluva thing.
[US]I. Faust Willy Remembers 70: That gave you a heckuva lot better view.
[UK]T. Rhone Old Story Time I i: When Missa Lenny leave that day, it look like he had one helluva headache.
[UK]Kirk & Madsen After The Ball 291: A great many gays [...] have a helluva time adjusting to the hard-core gay community.
[Aus]J. Byrell Lairs, Urgers & Coat-Tuggers 160: [T]hey had one helluva chaffburner on their hands.
[UK]G. Burn Happy Like Murderers 131: Helluva nice lad.
[UK]Indep. Rev. 18 Mar. 9: Legend has it that she herself was a helluva girl.
[US] M. McBride Frank Sinatra in a Blender [ebook] ]I] told him it was the funniest suicide note I’d ever read.