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Now, Words and Their Stories from VOA Learning English.
In an earlier program, we talked a lot about the Devil. In many religions, the Devil is the most powerful spirit of evil. Religious leaders teach that hell is where the Devil lives. They also say hell is the place where bad people go after they die.
You can hear many Americans using the words “Devil” and “hell” in everyday expressions. But the list of expressions is just too long for one show. So, get ready for the sequel -- what we’re calling “Part 2: Hell, the Devil’s Hangout!”
Many people think of hell as a hot place full of fire. So, a snowball would not have much of a chance there. And that is where this expression comes from: a snowball’s chance in hell.
Let’s say you applied for a promotion at work. But so did your boss’s daughter. You do not have a snowball’s chance in hell. Your boss is not going to hire you over his daughter.
It will be a cold day in hell and when hell freezes over also mean the same thing: there is no chance that something will happen.
For example, if you have a fight with a friend and never want to talk to him again, you could say, “It will be a cold day in hell before I ever call him again. Our friendship is over!” Or “Sure, I’ll call him … when hell freezes over!”
But be careful. These expressions are very informal and very strong. You would only use them with your close friends and peers.
So if your boss asks if your work will be done before you go home, you would never say, “It’ll be a cold day in hell when that happens...” unless you want to lose your job.
Sometime, we just use the expression “hell” like this: She’s a hell of a dancer. He’s a hell of a writer. That was a hell of good time. “Hell of a” runs together as if it’s one word – hell-of-a. Again, this is very slang and very informal.
Hell is reported to be not only hot, but miserable.
So, if something is going to hell in a hand basket, it is becoming very bad very quickly.
If you have been to hell and back, you have been through a very difficult period and lived to tell about it.
Here is an example:
A: I’m glad to see that Julie is back to her old self.
B: Me, too. She’s been through so much this past month. Her mom died, her son got really sick and then she was in that terrible car accident.
A: Wow, she has really been to hell and back.
"Excuse, but how do you get to hell?"
But if you do want to visit hell, there is a road you can take: the road of good intentions.
Let me explain. When we say “The road to hell is paved with good intentions,” we mean that positive intentions may have negative outcomes. “Paved” here means to line a street. So, the road to hell is lined with well-intended ideas that went terribly wrong.
You do not have to have good intentions to be hell on wheels. People who are hell on wheels are aggressive, tough, mean or just difficult to deal with. For example, “Watch out for the new woman in sales. She’s good. But she is hell on wheels! Stay out of her way!”
Being hell on wheels is different than raising hell. People who are hell on wheels might actually be doing a good job. But if you are raising hell, you are simply behaving badly.
Let’s listen to this dialogue.
B: “When she was a teenager, she really raised hell.”
A: “Tell me about it. She skipped school, got into trouble every weekend … what a hell raiser!”
B: “Her poor parents!”
If you raised too much hell in one place, you might find you need to leave that place like a bat out of hell -- in other words -- crazy-fast!
I’m Anna Matteo.
很多人认为地狱是深处火焰，一个温度很高的地方。因此，雪球是不可能在那里存在的。这就是这句话的出处： a snowball's chance in hell。
"It will be a cold day in hell"和"when hell freezes over"也表达同样的意思，即“某件事绝对不可能发生”。
有时候，我们会这样使用hell，比如：她跳舞跳得太好了。他笔杆子太牛了。那时候太愉快了。"hell of a"连在一起就像是一个单词hell-of-a。再次提醒，这也是非正式且很俚语的表达方式。
所以说某件事"is going to hell in a hand basket"，意思是在很快的时间内会变得很遭。
如果你去地狱走了一遭（ to hell and back），意思是会所你经历磨难并挺了过来讲述这事。
让我来解释一下，当我们说"The road to hell is paved with good intentions," 我们的意思是说积极的意图可能会产生负面的结果。（好心办坏事）Paved在这里意思是铺满一条街。所以，通往地狱之路铺满了犯下严重错误的善意想法。
走这条路你不需要善意的想法.Hell on wheels意思是说一个人好斗、粗暴、刻薄或者是难以打交道。例如：“小心那个新来的女销售，她的确很棒，但她脾气太差了，离她稍微远点。”