Hell Hath No Fury like a Woman Scorned – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Did someone just tell you that “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned?” What does that mean? Are they telling you that your ex is a demon or something?

This post unpacks the meaning, origin, and use of this expression in modern language.

Meaning

The phrase “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” changed its meaning over the years. It initially referred to mocking a woman; however, it changed its meaning into betrayal a few hundred years ago.

For instance, if a man were to leave his partner for another woman, the betrayal would spark anger in his previous lover, and he could expect a backlash from his actions.

Example Usage

“Mike arrived home late last night, and his wife read him the riot act. You know what they say; hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”

“Go ahead; you try telling her that. I’ll sit back and watch her tear you apart. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”

“I told my wife I was leaving her, and the next day I got a letter from her attorney demanding half of my estate. I guess hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”

“Are you sure you want to go ahead with that? I’m telling you it’s a bad idea, and she’s going to be super upset. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”

Origin

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” originates from the William Congreve play, “The Mourning Bride,” published in 1697. A line in the play reads as follows.

“Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, nor hell a fury like a woman scorned.”

Many people think that the phrase comes from the works of William Shakespeare, but Congreve was the first to use it.

Two centuries after Congreve penned the term; the Irish writer Oscar Wilde would write, “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,” breathing new life into the idiomatic phrase, spreading its use around the western world.

Phrases Similar to Hell Hath No Fury Like a Woman Scorned

  • Hell has no fury like a woman’s scorn.
  • Don’t mess with that girl.

Phrases Opposite to Hell Hath No Fury Like a Woman Scorned

  • She took that quite well.
  • There was no problem with her.

What is the Correct Saying?

  • Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.
  • Hell has no fury like a woman’s scorn.

Ways People May Say Hell Hath No Fury Like a Woman Scorned Incorrectly

Some people may use the phrase to refer to men, which is the incorrect use of the term. Also, some people may use the phrase to people that do not have a religious background, and they might find it somewhat offensive. Typically, you are not using it in a religious sense, and the “hell” in the saying is just a representation of the worst punishment you can think of taking.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase Hell Hath No Fury Like a Woman Scorned

You can use “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” in social and professional situations where you’re looking to impress upon someone that they should not upset the other person (typically a woman) unless they want to face severe repercussions. The phrase is more common in the format, “hell has no fury like a woman’s scorn.” It might not be the grammatically correct version, but it’s the more common saying in modern society. The older version sounds archaic, and most people don’t use it anymore.

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