Chemistry. any of certain metallic sulfates of glassy appearance, as copper sulfate or blue vitriol, iron sulfate or green vitriol, zinc sulfate or white vitriol, etc.
oil of vitriol; sulfuric acid.
something highly caustic or severe in effect, as criticism.
verb (used with object), vitrioled, vitrioling or (especially British) vitriolled, vitriolling.
to treat with or as with vitriol, especially sulfuric acid.

1350–1400; Middle English < Medieval Latin vitriolum, vitreolum, equivalent to Latin vitre(us) vitreous + -olum, neuter of -olus -ole1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
vitriol (ˈvɪtrɪˌɒl)
1.  another name for sulphuric acid
2.  any one of a number of sulphate salts, such as ferrous sulphate (green vitriol), copper sulphate (blue vitriol), or zinc sulphate (white vitriol)
3.  speech, writing, etc, displaying rancour, vituperation, or bitterness
vb , -ols, -oling, -oled, -olling, -olled
4.  to attack or injure with or as if with vitriol
5.  to treat with vitriol
[C14: from Medieval Latin vitriolum, from Late Latin vitriolus glassy, from Latin vitrum glass, referring to the glossy appearance of the sulphates]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

late 14c., "sulphate of iron," from O.Fr. vitriol (13c.), from M.L. vitriolum "vitriol," from neut. of vitriolus, from L.L. vitreolus "of glass," from L. vitreus "of glass, glassy," from vitrium "glass" (see vitreous). So called from its glassy appearance in certain states.
Meaning "bitter or caustic feelings" first attested 1769, in allusion to the corrosive properties of vitriol.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

vitriol vit·ri·ol (vĭt'rē-ōl', -əl)

  1. Any of various sulfates of metals, such as ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, or copper sulfate.

  2. See sulfuric acid.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
vitriol   (vĭt'rē-ōl', -əl)  Pronunciation Key 
  1. A former name for sulfuric acid.

  2. Any of various sulfates of metals, such as ferrous sulfate (green vitriol), zinc sulfate, or copper sulfate (blue vitriol). See also blue vitriol.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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