Build your vocabulary with Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day! Each day a Merriam-Webster editor offers insight into a fascinating new word -- explaining its meaning, current use, and little-known details about its origin.
January 4th, 2015
Episode 66 of 790 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for January 04, 2015 is: bromide \BROH-myde\ noun 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 Examples: Years of coal mining and natural gas extraction have elevated the concentration of bromides in the river. "When things go badly wrongVladimir Putin's annexation of Crimea, Peyton Manning's dismal Super Bowl performancesome 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 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.