Canaanite god frequently mentioned in Scripture, said to have been propitiated by sacrificing children (Leviticus xviii.21), from Latin Moloch, from Greek Molokh, from Hebrew molekh, from melekh "king," altered by the Jews with the vowel points from basheth "shame" to express their horror of the worship. Hence, figuratively, "any baleful influence to which everything is sacrificed" (1799).
"hell," 1620s (earlier "a place of torture," 1590s), from Church Latin gehenna (Tertullian), from Greek geenna, from post-biblical Hebrew gehinnom "Hell, place of fiery torment for the dead," figurative use of the place name Ge Hinnom "the Valley of Hinnom," southwest of Jerusalem, where, according to Jeremiah xix.5, children were sacrificed to Moloch. Middle English had gehenne (late 15c.) from French gehenne.