Entries linking to hell-raiser
also Hell, Old English hel, helle, "nether world, abode of the dead, infernal regions, place of torment for the wicked after death," from Proto-Germanic *haljō "the underworld" (source also of Old Frisian helle, Old Saxon hellia, Dutch hel, Old Norse hel, German Hölle, Gothic halja "hell"). Literally "concealed place" (compare Old Norse hellir "cave, cavern"), from PIE root *kel- (1) "to cover, conceal, save."
Old Norse Hel (from Proto-Germanic *halija "one who covers up or hides something")was the name of Loki's daughter who ruled over the evil dead in Niflheim, the lowest of all worlds (nifl "mist") It might have reinforced the English word "as a transfer of a pagan concept to Christian theology and its vocabulary" [Barnhart].
In Middle English, also of the Limbus Patrum, place where the Patriarchs, Prophets, etc. awaited the Atonement. Used in the KJV for Old Testament Hebrew Sheol and New Testament Greek Hades, Gehenna. Used figuratively for "state of misery, any bad experience" at least since late 14c. As an expression of disgust, etc., first recorded 1670s.
To have hell break loose is from c. 1600. Expression hell in a handbasket is attested by 1867, in a context implying use from a few years before, and the notion of going to Heaven in a handbasket is from 1853, implying "easy passage" to the destination. Hell or high water (1874) apparently is a variation of between the devil and the deep blue sea. To wish someone would go to hell is in Shakespeare ("Merchant of Venice"). Snowball's chance in hell "no chance" is from 1931; till hell freezes over "never" is from 1832.
To do something for the hell of it "just for fun" is from 1921. To ride hell for leather is from 1889, originally with reference to riding on horseback. Hell on wheels is from 1843 as the name of a steamboat; its general popularity dates from 1869 in reference to the temporary workers' vice-ridden towns along the U.S. transcontinental railroad. Scottish had hell-wain (1580s) "a phantom wagon seen in the sky at night."
c. 1200, reisen, "cause a rising of; lift upright, set upright; build, construct, bring into being," from a Scandinavian source, such as Old Norse reisa "to raise," from Proto-Germanic *raizjan (source also of Gothic ur-raisjan, Old English ræran "to rear;" see rear (v.)), causative of root *ris- "to rise" (see rise (v.)). At first sharing many senses with native rear (v.1).
Meaning "make higher" is from c. 1300 in the physical sense, as is that of "restore to life." Of the voice, from late 14c. Of sieges, blockades, etc., "remove by or as if by lifting," from late 14c. From early 14c. as "take up by aggregation or collection." The sense of "establish contact with (someone)," originally by radio, is by 1929. Meaning "to elevate" (the consciousness) is from 1970. Related: Raised; raising.
Meaning "increase the amount of" is from c. 1500; from 1530s of prices, etc. Meaning "to bring up" (a question, etc.) is from 1640s. Card-playing sense is from 1821. In reference to plants, etc., "promote with care the growth or development of," from 1660s; sense of "foster, rear, bring up" (of children) is by 1744.
Pickering ["A Vocabulary, or Collection of Words and Phrases Which Have Been Supposed to be Peculiar to the United States of America," 1816] has a long passage on the use of raise and grow in reference to crops. He writes that in the U.S. raise is used of persons, in the sense "brought up," but it is "never thus used in the Northern States." Bartlett  adds that it "is applied in the Southern States to the breeding of negroes. It is sometimes heard at the North among the illiterate; as 'I was raised in Connecticut,' meaning brought up there."
updated on October 10, 2017