Could you explain what the expression cold from hell means?

The context is something along the lines of:

I have exercised and currently fighting the cold from hell.

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Phrase 6 from the definition of "Hell" on oxforddictionaries.com is:

—— from hell

  1. informal An extremely unpleasant or troublesome example of something:

[e.g.] neighbours from hell

The phrase appears to originate in the late 1980s, with a few references in print appearing from 1990-92.

1990 - "Hormones from Hell: The Ultimate Women's Humor Book"

1991 - "Boards from Hell"

1992 saw "Taxis from Hell", "Dates from Hell", "Yuppies from Hell"; so the expression was taking a firm hold in slang.


"XYZ from hell" is a very colloquial way of saying "the worst XYZ imaginable".

Typical phrases would be

Generally, XYZ are things / persons that may come with a negative connotation, like in-laws or bosses, not positive or neutral (florist from hell would be quite unusual).


I guess someone is sick (they have a cold) that is so bad that it feels as if it was sent straight from hell.

It's probably not very different from someone describing a boss they particularly hate as the boss from hell, or a bus driver that seems to be trying to get everyone on board killed – if not from a crash, then from a heart attack – as the driver from hell.

I guess the example you give is some kind of social media status and is a shortened form of:

I have done some physical exercise, and currently I have a cold. It is a very, very bad cold.


It points to the level of cold he is suffering. 'from hell' basically reflects that the cold is so bad that one is experiencing the hell life. So such expression show the expensiveness of the situation/problem.

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