Fire and brimstone

Photo of author


Fire and brimstone is a phrase that dates back hundreds of years. We will examine the meaning of the term fire and brimstone, where the phrase came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

Fire and brimstone is a phrase that denotes the punishments of hell. Brimstone means a burning rock, such as burning sulfur. The term fire and brimstone comes from the Bible. In the King James translation of the Bible, fire and brimstone is mentioned several times. For instance, in the book of Genesis God destroys Sodom and Gomorrah with a hail of fire and brimstone. In the book of Revelation, Satan is cast into a lake of fire and brimstone. Particularly in the United States, fire and brimstone refers to a certain type of preaching that relies on the depiction of eternal damnation as a persuasion to follow God’s will. When used as an adjective before a noun, the phrase is hyphenated as in fire-and-brimstone. 


The dog lunged at him, pinning him against the kitchen wall with his enormous paws on the minister’s shoulders, snarling and breathing fire and brimstone. (The Aiken Standard)

They repeatedly call out the deficiencies of the Government, threaten fire and brimstone, and then retreat to some meaningless motion or bland question in the Dail. (The Irish Sun)

Purple prose like this sounds more like the sermon of a fire-and-brimstone preacher at a temperance meeting than a news report, but there is little doubt that Boise needed a lot of reform in the way its saloons were allowed to operate, forcing the City Council to spend a lot of time revising the ordinances dealing with the problem. (The Idaho Statesman)