What does the idiom "A snowball's chance in hell" mean?

The expression A snowball's chance in hell is one of the idioms that often finds a place in our literature and enriches our language. However, its meaning is not fully understood, so it is sometimes used in the wrong situations. Please review the explanation carefully for the correct use of the A snowball's chance in hell idiom.

Meaning of "A snowball's chance in hell"


The phrase “A snowball’s chance in hell” is an idiom used to express an impossible or slim chance of something being successful. It implies that an endeavor has no likelihood of success and would not get any closer to success in a conceivable amount of time.


The origins of this phrase are unclear, although some sources suggest it dates back to the mid-1800s. This phrase is believed to have been derived from the idea that a snowball would melt in hell due to the extreme heat, giving it no chance to survive. This metaphor is often used to represent a situation in which one is completely doomed and has no hope of succeeding.


This phrase is used to refer to situations in which success is deemed impossible or highly unlikely. It’s often used to express pessimism towards a goal or when someone wants to acknowledge that their chances of success are slim.

Example Sentences

  • We’ve been trying to get this project funded for months but it seems like we have a snowball’s chance in hell of finding the money.
  • There’s no way I’m getting into that college, I have a snowball’s chance in hell.
  • I know I might be grasping at straws here but I’ve got to try - I know I have a snowball’s chance in hell of success.

The meanings of the words in the "A snowball's chance in hell" idiom

The universal role of idioms

"Kill two birds with one stone" is an English idiom that means to accomplish two things with a single action. In French, the similar idiom is "Faire d'une pierre deux coups," which translates to "To kill two birds with one stone." This idiom highlights the efficiency of completing two tasks with one action.


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