Green’s Dictionary of Slang

hell, the phr.

1. [mid-19C+] (orig. US) used to intensify a variety of questions, such as how the hell...?; what the hell...? phr.; where the hell...? phr.; who the hell...? phr.; why the hell...?

2. [mid-19C+] a general intensifier to express anger, annoyance, impatience, also (ironically) disbelief or contempt, used to dismiss another speaker’s assertion; note also the hell with...! under hell n.

3. [late 19C+] (also hell) a general intensifer implying quantity, intensity.

In phrases

beat hell (v.) (also beat all to hell, beat the hell out of)

[mid-19C+] to surpass, to exceed in expectation, to surprise; often as if this don’t beat hell, don’t that beat hell.

beat (the) hell out of (v.)

1. [1920s+] (orig. US, also beat the holy hell.., ...the living hell... ) to beat severely; note also individual vars. in cits. at sense 3

2. [1970s] to do something to excess.

3. [1970s+] (orig. US) to amaze, to confound.

kick (the) hell out of (v.) (also kick the heck out of)

[20C+] (orig. US) to beat up thoroughly, to defeat or destroy.

knock (the) hell of out (v.) (also knock blazes out of, knock hell’s blazes/delight out of, knock the heck out)

[mid-19C+] (orig. US) to beat severely, to destroy comprehensively.

pound (the) hell out of (v.) (also paste...)

[mid-19C+] (orig. US) to beat up thoroughly, to defeat or destroy.

rip (the) hell out of (v.) [1910s+] (orig. Aus.)

1. to defeat comprehensively; to beat.

2. to tell off, to reprimand.

3. to tease unmercifully.