Home » Languages » English (Sr. Secondary) » Meaning of “The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions” phrase of Idiom, definition and synonyms use in sentence.

Meaning of “The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions” phrase of Idiom, definition and synonyms use in sentence.

The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions

“Hell is paved with the skulls of priests.”


This Greek proverb may be the origin of our phrase, for it well illustrates its meaning, namely that there are people in every age who, though they always mean well—whose motives, indeed, are always of the best—seem congenitally incapable of doing the right thing.

If all the wrongdoers in all the ages could be paraded before a great tribunal, the greater number would probably plead in their own defence: “I meant all for the best, according to my light.” We often say: “Give the Devil his due, for he is not so black as he is painted.” Evil is wrought, not only through want of thought but, through want of understanding of the other fellow’s case. When that crafty and mischievous woman, Catherine de Medicis, ordered the awful massacre of the French Protestants on St. Bartholomew’s Day, August 24, 1572, she did so in the belief that the “Huguenots” were the enemies, not only of France but, of God. The Spanish Inquisition was responsible for many acts of fiendish cruelty. Visitors to the old Palace of the Popes at Avignon are shown a small room with an extraordinarily high ceiling: really without any ceiling whatever, for the four walls gradually taper, chimney-wise, to a small aperture open to the sky. This is the old torture-chamber, and it was specially constructed with this quaint top to deaden the agonizing cries of those unfortunate souls whose consciences would not permit them voluntarily to betray their cherished religious faith, or, it may have been, some political secret.

These priests meant well, but—

‘This pity “that such meanings should pave hell.”

Byron: Don Juan (1821).


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