- a virago; shrew.
- an obsolete name for
- a common yellow butterfly, Gonepteryx rhamni, of N temperate regions of the Old World: family Pieridae
- archaic a scolding nagging woman; virago
Old English brynstan, from brin- stem of brinnen “to burn” (see (v.)) + stan (see (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.