The more common and oldest English term to refer to the infernal region is Hell:
- Old English hel, helle, "nether world, abode of the dead, infernal regions, place of torment for the wicked after death," from Proto-Germanic *haljo "the underworld".
- 1834, "Hell, the infernal regions," from Italian inferno, from Late Latin infernus "Hell," in classical Latin "the lower world". The Italian form inferno has been used in English since 1834, via Dante.
Curiously, the relative adjective infernal had been known in English for seven centuries before Inferno was used in English:
- late 14c., "of or pertaining to the underworld," (ancient Tartarus, the sunless abode of the dead, or the Christian Hell), from Old French enfernal, infernal "of Hell, hellish" (12c.).
What made Dante's "Inferno" so popular at the beginning of the 19th century as to enter English usage?
Was it originally a BrE or an AmE thing?