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.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.