brimstone


noun

  1. sulfur.
  2. a virago; shrew.

noun

  1. an obsolete name for sulphur
  2. a common yellow butterfly, Gonepteryx rhamni, of N temperate regions of the Old World: family Pieridae
  3. archaic a scolding nagging woman; virago
n.

Old English brynstan, from brin- stem of brinnen “to burn” (see burn (v.)) + stan (see stone (n.)). In Middle English the first element also recorded as brem-, brom-, brum-, bren-, brin-, bron-, brun-, bern-, born-, burn-, burned-, and burnt-. Formerly “the mineral sulfur,” now restricted to biblical usage.

The Lord reynede vpon Sodom and Gomor brenstoon and fier. [Wycliff’s rendition (1382) of Gen. xix:24]

The Old Norse cognate compound brennusteinn meant “amber,” as does German Bernstein.

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