An example of brimstone is something that burns in the fictional images of hell.
'[W]ho walked up Aldersgate-street to some chapel where she comforts herself with brimstone doctrine.' — Charles Dickens, The Uncommercial Traveller.
'[A] cheerful ballad about a murderer who was afraid to go to bed in the dark because he saw certain brimstone flames around him.' — Thomas Hardy Tess of the d'Urbevilles.
Origin of brimstone
- Middle English brimston from Old English brynstān gwher- in Indo-European roots
From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
- From Middle English brimston, bremston, corrupted forms of brinston, brenston, bernston, from Old English brynstān (“brimstone”, literally “burn-stone”), equivalent to brian + stone, or burn + stone. Cognate with Scots brunstane (“brimstone”), Icelandic brennisteinn (“sulfur, brimstone”), German Bernstein (“amber”). Compare also brimfire. More at burn, stone.
- Once a synonym for "sulphur," the word is now restricted to Biblical usage.