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  • (file)

Etymology 1[edit]

From "hell of (a)", like hella[1] (originally Northern California slang). See also Wikipedia:Hella (word).


helluv (not comparable)

  1. (slang, chiefly Northern California) Intensifier, signifies an abundance of a thing; much or many.
    Hey, if you guys get the munchies, there's helluv candy in the cupboard.
    • 2006, Joylynn Jossel, When Souls Mate, [1]
      […] and all of the other people I have met who show me helluv love when I come through your town.


helluv (not comparable)

  1. (slang, chiefly Northern California) Intensifier (modifies verbs); to a large extent; totally; very much.
    Dude, I helluv want to go to the show with you, but I'm soooo grounded.
    • 2002, Peggy Vincent, Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife[2], page 225:
      “[…]. This helluv hurts.” We grownups burst out laughing, and I hugged her bony adolescent shoulders.
  2. (slang, chiefly Northern California) Intensifier (modifies adjectives); to a large degree; extremely; exceedingly.
    That new girl is helluv sexy.
    • 2002, Peggy Vincent, Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife[3], page 226:
      “We had the baby, like two minutes ago. It was helluv icy. […] Naeema was so brave, just hellabitchin', and I delivered the baby myself 'cause we have this hellafresh midwife who taught me how to do it.”
    • 2003, Adrienne Anderson, Word: Rap, Politics and Feminism[4], page 14:
      “Man, if I had never been to California and read that magazine, I would be helluv scared to come out there!”
  • (extremely, modifies adjectives): wicked (NE US)



  1. (slang, chiefly Northern California) For sure; totally; hell yeah; used as a strong affirmation of something that was just said, accomplished, or revealed.
    "Hey, you wanna come to the concert tonight?" "Oh, helluv!"

Usage notes[edit]

  • To many speakers, helluv is the more emphatic or more intensified form of hella.

Related terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

Shortened form, or elision, of phrases like "hell of" or "hell have", approximating casual speech in writing.



  1. (colloquial) Elision of "hell of".
    • 1977, Curt Johnson, The Morning Light[5], page 214:
      Oh, you goddam-betcha, Julie, it's one helluva lot better — one HELLUV A lot better — to be born dirt-poor. Course then you get to stay that way the rest of your life.
    • 1997, Kat Martin, Innocence Undone[6], page 297:
      “That's the helluv it — beggin' yer pardon, miss...”
  2. (colloquial) Elision of "the hell of".
    • 1997, Kat Martin, Innocence Undone[7], page 173:
      Helluv it is,” he grumbled. “I was thinking of marrying her myself. Wrote her a letter, but it didn't get posted in time.”
  3. (colloquial) Elision of "hell have"
    • 1973, Richard Cowper, Clone, page 99:
      Where the helluv you been?


  1. ^ "Hella", in Berkeley High School Slang Dictionary, 2004, North Atlantic Books, page 38