Word of the Day – August 9, 2012

bromide (noun)

BROH mighd

an unoriginal remark spoken at what seems to be the appropriate moment for it; commonplace or conventional expression; trite saying; platitude

Chances are that more than a few bromides you utter originated with Longfellow. Indeed, they may have originated in one of the more than sixty poems he published in this magazine. “The patter of little feet:” — “The mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small,” “One, if by land, and two, if by sea,” “This is the forest primeval,” “Ships that pass in the night,” “Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs, / and as silently steal away,” are famously his; but so are “Into each life some rain must fall”; “footprints on the sands of time,” and “a boy’s will is the wind’s will,” famous thanks to Frost.
Peter Davison     February 2001

Although he did not invent the word bromide, the American humorist Gelett Burgess popularized the word with his 1906 article, “The Sulphitic Theory, or Are You a Bromide?,” in which he separates people into the Bromides, who think conventionally, and the Sulphites, who do their own thinking. “The accepted Bromidic belief,” he wrote, “is that each of the ordinary acts of life is, and necessarily must be, accompanied by its own especial remark or opinion.” Among the examples of bromides Burgess offered were “I don’t know much about art, but I know what I like,” and “It isn’t the money — it’s the principle of the thing.”

… from More Words That Make A Difference

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