Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Today's Word: Bromide

You probably recognize the word bromide. It may conjure up old-timey syrups or potions for ailments and infirmities. But the word has more layers to it than that!

Potassium Bromide is essential in the craft of photography. Taking it's name from the Greek bromos (bad smelling), Potassium Bromide is used to create Silver Bromide, the photo-sensitive chemical that many scientists believe is responsible for the image found on the Shroud of Turin! That's right, the Shroud is now thought to be a very early form of photograph, created in the early Renaissance! Oh, there are plenty of arguments on both sides of the position! Any beloved relic that is given a thorough examination will raise the hackles of fundamentalists of all sorts, faithful and skeptics alike!

Potassium Bromide is also a powerful drug that acts as a sedative. It's very commonly used to treat seizures in dogs. In Great Britain, the term "bromide" is used rather loosely to refer to drugs that treat depression.

Since many early anti-anxiety and depression treatments simply suppressed all vitality and emotion, the term has carried over to mean dull-witted or a boorish personality.

A dull or overly-conventional person or phrase can be said to be a bromide!

What a history! There's nothing dull or conventional about religious forgery or alchemical concoctions, and yet, there you have it!



Blogger Pope Benedict XVI said...

This is a great website! If only I can start using these words now.

6:31 PM  
Blogger fdfs said...

Greetings! As a fellow linguaphile, I admire what you're doing here! I'm bookmarking this blog and will stop by often to try to learn something from your precise and limpid prose!

7:19 PM  

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