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[gi-hen-uh] /gɪˈhɛn ə/
the valley of Hinnom, near Jerusalem, where propitiatory sacrifices were made to Moloch. II Kings 23:10.
hell (def 1).
any place of extreme torment or suffering.
Origin of Gehenna
< Late Latin < Greek Géenna < Hebrew Gē-Hinnōm hell, short for gē ben Hinnōm literally, valley of the son of Hinnom Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for Gehenna
Historical Examples
  • The last three days have been a composition of Gehenna and Paradise.

  • There'd be a Gehenna of a bill to pay when they started decelerating.

    Space Viking Henry Beam Piper
  • So Gehenna did not die in vain, and we may take it that the discovery did not unduly depress Eblis's wounded in hospital.

    Sea Warfare Rudyard Kipling
  • War made the South an Aceldama; reconstruction made it a Gehenna.

  • I cannot share men's stoical contempt for a Gehenna, which is nothing worse.

    Cecilia de Nol Lanoe Falconer
  • "Thou deservest I should let thee burn in the lowest Gehenna," she cried.

    Ghetto Tragedies Israel Zangwill
  • The hose shot forth a flash like a diamond; the water-spirit fell into the glowing Gehenna.

    Black Diamonds Mr Jkai
  • Fear him, who after he has killed, has power to cast into Gehenna.

  • The Gehenna has turned into a Vale of Sharon full of lilies, lilacs, and acacias.

    The Inferno August Strindberg
  • The underworld is now first divided into Paradise and Gehenna.

    Outspoken Essays William Ralph Inge
British Dictionary definitions for Gehenna


(Old Testament) the valley below Jerusalem, where children were sacrificed and where idolatry was practised (II Kings 23:10; Jeremiah 19:6) and where later offal and refuse were slowly burned
(New Testament, Judaism) a place where the wicked are punished after death
a place or state of pain and torment
Word Origin
C16: from Late Latin, from Greek Geena, from Hebrew Gê' Hinnōm, literally: valley of Hinnom, symbolic of hell
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for Gehenna



"hell," 1620s, from Church Latin, 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 Jer. xix.5, children were sacrificed to Moloch.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Gehenna in the Bible

(originally Ge bene Hinnom; i.e., "the valley of the sons of Hinnom"), a deep, narrow glen to the south of Jerusalem, where the idolatrous Jews offered their children in sacrifice to Molech (2 Chr. 28:3; 33:6; Jer. 7:31; 19:2-6). This valley afterwards became the common receptacle for all the refuse of the city. Here the dead bodies of animals and of criminals, and all kinds of filth, were cast and consumed by fire kept always burning. It thus in process of time became the image of the place of everlasting destruction. In this sense it is used by our Lord in Matt. 5:22, 29, 30; 10:28; 18:9; 23:15, 33; Mark 9:43, 45, 47; Luke 12:5. In these passages, and also in James 3:6, the word is uniformly rendered "hell," the Revised Version placing "Gehenna" in the margin. (See HELL ØT0001731; HINNOM.)

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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