When Hell Freezes Over

Also:

Not till hell freezes over

It will be a cold day in hell (when)

Meaning of Idiom ‘When Hell Freezes Over’

When hell freezes over means never; not at all.

See: Freeze Over

Usage

The less emphatic version ‘it will be a cold day in hell’ is sometimes heard. When we say ‘It will be a cold day in hell when I do that’ we mean we never expect to do it.

Examples Of Use

Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary with CD-ROM “I’ll stop smoking when hell freezes over,” said Grandpa.

“You should listen to ASMR if you’re having trouble sleeping,” said Minny. “People whispering and making weird noises?” said Josea. “When hell freezes over.”

“Justin is telling people you guys are getting back together,” said Ken. “Ha! When hell freezes over!” said Angela. “He cheated on me with my own sister.”

“It will be a cold day in hell when I trust her again.”

“Is there a chance Spencer Maxwell will be granted a pardon?” asked the reporter. “Not till hell freezes over,” said the prosecutor. “He’s the most depraved individual I’ve ever prosecuted.”

“It’ll be a cold day in hell when you take over my business.”

Origin

Used since the late 1800s, this hyperbolic idiom alludes to hell being an extremely hot and firey place that can never get cold enough to freeze over.

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