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.
[mid-19C+] to surpass, to exceed in expectation, to surprise; often as if this don’t beat hell, don’t that beat hell.
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.
[20C+] (orig. US) to beat up thoroughly, to defeat or destroy.
[mid-19C+] (orig. US) to beat severely, to destroy comprehensively.
[mid-19C+] (orig. US) to beat up thoroughly, to defeat or destroy.
1. to defeat comprehensively; to beat.
2. to tell off, to reprimand.
3. to tease unmercifully.