In Reply to: Hotter than the hubs of Hades posted by Steve on June 13, 2008 at 12:08:
: I don't find "hotter than the hubs of Hades" in Phrase Finder. There's some speculation on other sites, but this is the one I trust. Does anyone have a definitive answer? It seems to be fairly common in the U.S (I first heard it over 50 years ago).
The word "hub" in this expression is a variant of hob, which means principally, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, "In a fire-place, the part of the casing having a surface level with the top of the grate." It is where you put things to keep them warm without burning up. I think, however, that being put on the hobs of Hades does put you in danger of burning up or at least of getting much too hot.
I don't think the expression is heard much in the U.S. nowadays. You'll more often hear, "hotter than the hinges of Hades."