1. Sulfur, especially considered as a component of the torments of hell in Christianity.
a. Damnation to hell.
b. Vehement or condemnatory rhetoric, especially rhetoric warning of the torments of hell for immoral behavior: a sermon full of fire and brimstone.
[Middle English brimston, from Old English brynstān; see gwher- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.