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Bromide and Bromides

Updated on September 3, 2009

Popular Bromides

A bromide is defined as a trite or well-used saying or aphorism. Popular examples or bromides include:

"A monkey in a silk suit is still a monkey" is a thinly veiled insult directed at anyone who tries to hide obvious character flaws by dressing well. This bromide leads to an entire genre of pseudo-insults such as "You can dress him up, but you can't take him out" or "All hat, no cattle". We all know that first impressions are important, but eventually substance will overcome style. The initial impression a well-dressed person makes will quickly fade if there's nothing behind it.

"Even if you win the rat race you're still a rat" is a bromide that disparages the eternal quest for professional success. The phrase "rat race" refers to climbing the professional ladder, doing whatever it takes to make more money, gain more prestige, acquire more possessions. A rat in a maze behaves much the same way, but usually the rat earns a hunk of cheese at the end of the day. Many social climbers and aspiring business executives find themselves consumed by the quest for more stuff; they lose themselves somewhere in the process.

"The three things that determine the value of a house are location, location, and location." This bromide provides a modicum of redirection in order to make an important point. Rather than providing three different qualities, the emphasis is placed squarely on on issue; location. Any competent real estate agent agrees. An elegantly appointed home astride a nuclear waste dump has little monetary value, regardless of how nicely the front yard might be manicured.

"The three things that determine the value of a web site are content, content, and content." A modernized version of the previous bromide, this aphorism emphasizes the value of what a web site contains rather than how it appears. Certainly a sloppily designed site tends to drive viewers away, but a flashy site only holds attention for a short period. Repeat visits are derived from content, not from blinky lights and colors.

Most people have their own favorite bromide or bromides. They find themselves quoting well-known writers or public figures in order to make a point or entertain their peers. Popular authors often become apocryphal over time as their fans condense entire works of literature into a series of bromides.

Douglas Adams, the author of the wildly popular Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series, has provided innumerable bromides through his writing. His style of writing, combined with the width and breadth of the subjects he addressed, allowed fans to extract out-of-context quotes that nonetheless remain humorous and pithy. Perhaps humorous science function lends itself to bromide evolution. Probably the most famous line of bromides that arose from Adams' writing are the references to the number 42 and its' associated implications. Any self-respecting computer geek knows that 42 is the answer to "life, the universe, and everything." When pressed, they may not be capable of explaining the context of the number or how it was calculated, but certainly 42 has become part of popular culture in the more fashionable parts of the galaxy.

Potassium Bromide (KBr)
Potassium Bromide (KBr)

Bromides are also a class of chemicals

Bromine atoms with an oxidation number of -1 are referred to as bromides. Potassium Bromide, symbol KBr, is a salt that was observed to have some medicinal applications in the late 1800s to the early 1900s. Some physicians attributed potassium bromide to be a cure for epilepsy, although the United States Food and Drug Administration has not approved the chemical for such a purpose.

Sodium Bromide, NaBr
Sodium Bromide, NaBr

Sodium Bromide, NaBr, provides a bromine ion, as Potassium Bromide also does. As a result, Sodium Bromide is considered to have similar applications.

Methyl Bromide, CH3Br, also referred to as bromomethane, exists as a colorless and odorless gas at room temperature. Huge amounts of Methyl Bromide are produced by water-based organisms such as sponges. Considered by scientists to be an ozone depleting compound, humans employed it as a pesticide until it was all but phased out in the last 1990s.

Hydrogen Bromide, HBr, is a gas at room temperature. Unlike Methyl Bromide, Hydrogen Bromide produces an acrid odor if inhaled. It is considered a corrosive gas. HBr is used in chemical synthesis to produce bromoalkanes, bromooalkenes, and dihaloalkanes. Seriously.

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    • The Old Firm profile image

      The Old Firm 8 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

      Platitudes, platitudes, where the Hell are the plongtitudes so that I can work out where I pstand?

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 8 years ago from Ohio, USA

      @The Old Firm : I don't see you ever getting plost

    • The Old Firm profile image

      The Old Firm 8 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

      I was once a navigator. Never lost, sometimes temporarily confused. - But I do loose the plot!

    • Lgali profile image

      Lgali 7 years ago

      nice hub good info

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 7 years ago from Ohio, USA


    • profile image

      Sensible Don 7 years ago

      Bromides rock. As a research chemist I found some inconsistencies in your methodology, but overall your writing is entertaining and informative. Keep up the good work.

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