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Posted: Wed Oct 16, 2019 4:10 am
by Stevenloan
"Raising the young girl and seeing her grow into a young lady that will soon be off to college. Rambo is very proud of her, and protecting, but she has a demon in her past too, and it's her father that has left her and moved back to Mexico. As with most children that have been abandoned by their paternal parents, she yearns to see her father and ask him the one question that eats her alive. "Why did you leave my mother and I?" A question she soon regrets she ever traveled all the way to Mexico to ask her father. In doing so, she has betrayed her families trust, but Rambo loves her and becomes hell bent to save her from the cartels."

- Hi everybody! This is a movie review. I checked several online dictionaries the meaning of "hell-bent" and all the results were "hell-bent on + a noun / V-ing". But in the paragraph above the reviewer wrote "hell-bent to save". Are the two versions both common?

Thanks a lot!


Re: Hell-bent

Posted: Wed Oct 16, 2019 9:18 am
by Phil White
Hi Steven,

The idiom is usually "hell-bent on doing something". I have never heard the variant "hell-bent to do something, but the rest of the review (the full glory of which is on the IMDB site), is not well written. There are a couple of places where I wondered whether the writer was a native speaker at all.

I think we can safely assume that it is not normal, but simply sloppy.

Re: Hell-bent

Posted: Thu Oct 17, 2019 4:02 pm
by BonnieL
One of my mother's favorite expressions was "hell bent for leather" - which was how she drove. :shock:

I've never looked it up so I'm not sure where it came from or exactly what it means. Tho in my mother's case, it meant driving must faster than she should have.

Re: Hell-bent

Posted: Thu Oct 17, 2019 4:20 pm
by Erik_Kowal
A similar adverbial expression is current in the UK, "hell for leather": "She tore hell-for-leather down the shopping street in the Maserati she had borrowed from her friend".

An article at has an explanation of the origin of both variants:

Hell for leather means as fast as possible. The term was first used in print in 1889 by Rudyard Kipling, specifically referring to riding a horse at breakneck speed. The leather in this case either refers to the leather in the saddle or the leather in the crop.

Hell-bent describes someone who is determined to do something no matter how the effort effects himself or anyone else, at any cost. Hell-bent is an adjective that carries a connotation of recklessness or foolishness, it is an American word that was first used in the early 1800s. Interestingly, a new term is beginning to emerge that combines hell for leather and hell-bent. Hell-bent for leather describes someone who is determined to do something no matter what the cost, and does it in a ferocious manner.

Re: Hell-bent

Posted: Thu Oct 17, 2019 4:28 pm
by Stevenloan
Phil White, BonnieL and Erik : Thank you all very much for your help. I really appreciate it.