bro·​mide | \ˈbrō-ˌmīd \

Definition of bromide 

1 : a binary compound of bromine with another element or a radical including some (such as potassium bromide) used as sedatives

2a : a commonplace or tiresome person : bore

b : a commonplace or hackneyed statement or notion

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Did You Know?

After bromine was discovered in 1827, chemists could not resist experimenting with the new element. It didn't take long before they found uses for its compounds, in particular potassium bromide. Potassium bromide was used as a sedative to treat everything from epilepsy to sleeplessness, and by the 20th century, bromide was being used figuratively to apply to anything or anyone that might put one to sleep because of commonness or just plain dullness. Today, bromides are no longer an ingredient in sedative preparations, but we can still feel the effects of figurative bromides as we encounter them in our daily routines.

Examples of bromide in a Sentence

His speech had nothing more to offer than the usual bromides about how everyone needs to work together. a newspaper editorial offering the timeworn bromide that people should settle their differences peacefully

Recent Examples on the Web

Her best friend, Reva, speaks in self-help bromides while expropriating her wine and designer wardrobe. Megan O’grady, New York Times, "Read Any Antisocial Novels Lately?," 10 May 2018 Some produced thoughtful answers about the state’s future, others generated responses that came across as general bromides about making things better. John Myers,, "Personality — not policy — divides and other takeaways from the California governor debate," 9 May 2018 Republican congressman Steve Scalise responded to Waters with a vapid, tut-tutting bromide hinting that the end of the republic, should her stance gain traction, is nigh. Jay Willis, GQ, "Public Shaming Is Powerful," 25 June 2018 My God, again, Raheem there is banality after clich, after bromide. Fox News, "Meadows, Dershowitz react after Lisa Page defies subpoena," 12 July 2018 Useful, but hardly the stuff of romance, which movie parents tend to reduce to bromides. Karen Stabiner, New York Times, "A Wedding Day Saga Ends With Words From the Heart," 27 June 2018 The tragedy is not just that Manne is right, but that pointing out the obvious moral and ethical sinkholes in Peterson’s grab-bag of resentful bromides should merit a two-page review by one of the greatest feminist philosophers of her generation. Laurie Penny, Longreads, "Peterson’s Complaint," 12 July 2018 So it’s one thing for Jordan to stigmatize the tactics of Parker Coie and sully their name with conservative bromides. Chad Pergram, Fox News, "Jim Jordan, facing accusations of ignoring sexual abuse, faces political crisis," 7 July 2018 Several complainants said they were particularly taken aback by their L.U.O. experiences because of Liberty’s religious underpinnings, [and the] anodyne responses the students received from L.U.O. were frequently glossed with Christian bromides. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: New coalition aims to improve Democratic messaging against Trump," 18 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bromide.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of bromide

1830, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for bromide

Last Updated

28 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for bromide

The first known use of bromide was in 1830

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More Definitions for bromide



English Language Learners Definition of bromide

: a drug that makes a person calm

: a statement that is intended to make people feel happier or calmer but that is not original or effective


bro·​mide | \ˈbrō-ˌmīd \

Medical Definition of bromide 

1 : a binary compound of bromine with another element or a radical including some (as potassium bromide) used as sedatives

2 : a dose of bromide taken usually as a sedative

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Comments on bromide

What made you want to look up bromide? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


something that serves to warn or remind

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