1 : a compound of bromine and another element or chemical group
2 a : a commonplace or tiresome person
b : a commonplace or hackneyed statement or idea
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.
Years of coal mining and natural gas extraction have elevated the concentration of bromides in the river.
"When things go badly wrong-Vladimir Putin's annexation of Crimea, Peyton Manning's dismal Super Bowl performance-some ding-dong will trot out the bromide, 'Oh, well: The best-laid plans of mice and men…'" - Joe Queenan, The Wall Street Journal, November 26, 2014
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Test Your Vocabulary
What word begins with "b" and can refer to syndicated material supplied to weekly newspapers or to formulaic or hackneyed language? The answer is …
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP