Hell's bells


      • frustration or annoyance
        Express frustration or annoyance with a situation or person

      • surprise or astonishment
        Express surprise or astonishment at something unexpected or extraordinary

      • emphasis
        Emphasize a point or statement

    Examples of Hell's bells

    • The boss yelled "Hell's bells!" when he saw the messy office.

      This example shows how the idiom can be used in a reaction or exclamation, implying strong surprise and frustration. The boss is implying that the situation is so bad that even the devil himself would be surprised.

    • Marketing fell short of its targets last quarter, ringing the hells out of the bells.

      In this example, the idiom takes a slightly more creative turn, with the verb "ring" replacing "hell's". The phrase "rings the hells out of" is a playful adaptation of "rings the bells of", implying that the situation has caused a loud and negative reaction, as opposed to a pleasant one.

    • It took Jack's team three years to complete the project, damn the bells!

      This example shows how the idiom can be used in a casual conversation, with "damn" replacing "hell's". The speaker is implying that the project's long duration was worth the effort, regardless of the negative reaction that it might have caused.

    • The meeting was a complete disaster, and I think we'll hear the bells tolling for us on Monday morning!

      This example shows how the idiom can be used in a humorous context, with the verb "toll" replacing "rings" or "bell's". The speaker is implying that the situation might so dire that their colleagues will have to bury them on Monday, indicating how bad the situation was.

    • The new boss's strict policies have been driving me up the wall. I swear, hell's bells, it's like I'm back in kindergarten with nappy (diaper) time again.

      This example uses the idiom 'hell's bells' in a figurative sense to express strong surprise or disbelief. The speaker is comparing the strictness of the new boss to being treated like a child, and the use of the idiom 'hell's bells' emphasizes the unexpectedness and severity of the situation.

    • The project deadline is drawing near and there's still so much left to do. Hell's bells, I don't know how we're going to meet it all.

      In this example, the idiom 'hell's bells' is used to express the speaker's frustration and uncertainty regarding the project deadline. The use of the idiom creates a vivid image of the intensity and urgency of the situation.

    • The band's performance was off the hook last night. Hell's bells, the energy in the room was electric.

      Here, the idiom 'hell's bells' is used to express the speaker's excitement and amazement at the band's outstanding performance. The use of the idiom adds a dramatic and dynamic quality to the sentence, emphasizing the speaker's strong emotional reaction.

    • The news about the company's recent merger has sent shockwaves through the industry. Hell's bells, it's going to be a game-changer.

      In this example, the idiom 'hell's bells' is used to describe the significant impact that the recent merger is expected to have on the industry. The use of the idiom creates a powerful and disruptive image, highlighting the potential far-reaching consequences of the merger.


    The idiom "Hell's bells" can be used to express frustration or annoyance, to show surprise or astonishment, or to emphasize a point. It is a versatile expression that can be used in various contexts to convey strong emotions or to stress a particular message.

    In everyday conversation, "Hell's bells" is often used in a light-hearted or humorous manner to convey frustration or surprise. It can also be used to add emphasis to a statement, making it more forceful and impactful. Overall, it is a colorful and expressive idiom that can add flair to language.

    Origin of "Hell's bells"

    The origin of "Hell's bells" is uncertain, but it is believed to have originated as a colorful and emphatic expression. The use of "Hell" in the idiom adds a dramatic and intense quality to the phrase, making it suitable for expressing strong emotions such as frustration, surprise, or emphasis. The inclusion of "bells" further adds to the vividness of the expression, creating a memorable and impactful idiom.

    While the exact origins of "Hell's bells" are unclear, its use in English language and literature dates back several centuries. It has become a well-known and widely used idiom, adding color and intensity to everyday language. Whether expressing frustration, surprise, or emphasis, "Hell's bells" remains a popular and effective idiom in English communication.