Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Word of the Day: Bromide

While reading this NYT article about cancer, I came across the word bromide, but not in the chemistry way that I dimly remember it. "Better to say nothing, and offer the gift of your presence, than to utter bankrupt bromides." It means:
1. (Chemistry.)
a. a salt of hydrobromic acid consisting of two elements, one of which is bromine, as sodium bromide, NaBr.
b. a compound containing bromine, as methyl bromide.
2. Pharmacology. potassium bromide, known to produce central nervous system depression, formerly used as a sedative.
3. a platitude or trite saying.
4. a person who is platitudinous and boring.

The etymology is from 1836, from bromine, the pungent, poisonous element (1827), from Fr. brome, from Gk. bromos "stench." Used as a sedative; figurative sense of "dull, conventional person or trite saying" popularized by U.S. humorist Gelett Burgess (1866-1951) in his book "Are You a Bromide?" (1906).

This morning, I used the word cliché to refer to someone who was in grad school but realized their true love was making croissants while doing their fieldwork in Paris and dropped out to become a fulfilled baker. While I am truly happy for this person, if they are real, there is still quite a genre, I hear, of memoirs of people who drop out of grad school to follow their bliss.

Somehow looking up the word cliché led me to Stuff White People Like. I'd forgotten about how funny that is.

Addendum: I really want to see the Imax Hubble movie!!!
Also: using personal email at work has been prohibited, so that's why this is so random. I can't email to myself all the links that I ordinarily would, like this:
My friend told me that the two coal-burning plants in Chicago are right around this neighborhood, and it turns out it's even worse than that. Too bad not many people really care, or maybe other problems are just more immediate. No wonder I was biking through so much trash the other day!
Another blog post about Pilsen.
I'm eating fruit with lime & salt & chili pepper that we bought on the side of the road: mango, papaya, pineapple, coconut, cucumber and watermelon. It is WAY TOO hot for me, but I can't stop wolfing it down! I'm too white for this, but it's so good.

bromides. (n.d.). Dictionary.com Unabridged. Retrieved April 06, 2010, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/bromides
bromides. (n.d.). Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved April 06, 2010, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/bromides
Jennings, D. (2010, March 15). "With cancer, let's face it: Words are inadequate." New York Times. Retrieved from New York Times website: http://www.nytimes.com

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

thanks for the interesting information