Oh, hell!

Up on the Strong Language blog, I have new post on the many uses–er, circles–of hell, from hell yes! to hell-to-the-no. Noun, verb, intensifier, prefix? Hell hath a lot of linguistic fury in the English language. Readers here may be particularly hellbent on the etymology of hell:

In Norse mythology, Hel is Loki’s daughter and goddess of the underworld, which is one way to raise Hel, I suppose. Her name is indeed a cognate of English’s own hell, whose Old English source, hell, comes from the Proto-Germanic *haljo (“the underworld,” literally “the concealed place”). Descending further into the origins of hell, some etymologists believe *haljo hails from the Proto-Indo-European *kel-, “to conceal” or “to cover.” English sees this same root in the very unhellish hall, hull, and cell, as well as that very conceal, to name a few hellions.

Read more from “Nine circles of hell.” 

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