Hell, the devil—usu used in intensive comparisons and other idiomatic phrr; see quots.
1885 TX Siftings 26 Dec 8/3 AR, I reckon we know that you air a giver’ment timber agent, an’ I reckon we know that this infernal whelp . . got you to come here an’ raise old Billy h—ll amongst us fellers. 1897 Harper’s New Mth. Mag. 95.359 KY, An’ then thar’ll be Billy-hell to pay. You see! 1903 (1965) Adams Log Cowboy 64 NM, It was no vague statement of the man who said if he owned hell and Texas, he ’d rent Texas and live in hell, for if this is n’t Billy hell, I’d like to know what you call it. 1943 Amarillo Globe (TX) 29 Apr 2/1, Do you remember when they used to say of a fresh norther that “It was cold ‘as Billy Hell?’ ” 1943 Beckley Post–Herald (WV) 25 Sept 5/1, A smart-alec reader . . has written to give me old Billy Hell because I fight against the pollution of the fishing streams in West Virginia. 1958 Hench Coll., Today a Univ[ersity of] V[irgini]a fellow-teacher said: “The University President raised all sorts of billy hell about the schedule of courses of the Education Department.” (The fellow-teacher was raised in Texas.) 1965–70 DARE (Qu. B3) Inf IN30, Hot as Billy Hal; (Qu. U41b, . . “He’s poor as _____.”) Inf ND3, Billy Hell, Billy-be-damned; (Qu. HH22b, . . “He’s meaner than _____.”) Inf KY11, The devil, Old Billy, Old Billy Hell; (Qu. KK11, To make . . a big fuss . . “He _____.”) Inf NM9, Raised all Billy Hell—cowboys. 1966 Dakin Dial. Vocab. Ohio R. Valley 2.520, The devil. . . Kentuckians say old Billy hell (Owsley County). 1980 Alton Telegraph (IL) 30 Sept sec B 12/3, The commission allowed another agency . . to determine the implementation and all Billy hell is breaking out. 1983 MJLF 9.1.49 ceKY (as of 1956), Old Billy Hell . . Satan. 1999 Proulx Close Range 69 WY, Late August and hot as billy hell, getting on out of Miles City Pake’s head of maps failed and they ended on rimrock south of the Wyo line, tremendous roll of rough country in front of them.