broheim n. brother; friend, buddy. Also broham, brougham, or (rarely) broheem. Editorial Note: This term was recently popularized by the movie A History of Violence. Etymological Note: The Berkeley High School Slang Dictionary (2004, North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, California) says that the brougham variation derives from the Cadillac Brougham, a high-end sedan; however, there is no substantiation for this and it is highly unlikely. (source: Double-Tongued Dictionary)

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  1. Broheim?
    Only in the Jewish ghetto.

    Brougham:

    No substantiation?  Don’t be sub-culturally illiterate!  You didn’t ask any black folks to substantiate it for you, did you?  And, while it may have been RE-popularized by this new movie, it first came into vogue (or, at least, to my attention) in the early 1980’s.  For an earlier example of its use on the screen, see the animated feature, “Bebe’s Kids” from about 1991 or so, written by and starring the late Robin Harris and also Tone Loc.
    Additionally, It wasn’t specifically the caddy, there were a number of other popular models under the moniker “brougham”, notably the olds “98” and “cutlass supreme.”
    General Motors used the term to denote their top-of-the-line option package and we used it as a familiar form of address for someone we held in esteem.

  2. It’s not about what people say a word means or where they say it originates, it’s about what can be proven. There’s often a big gap between the two.

    As you can see from the citations, broheim is by far and away the most common spelling. There’s nothing Jewish about it.

    Regarding consulting black folks: There’s nothing particularly African-American about this term, no matter what it says elsewhere. There’s more evidence that it’s a surfing term than a black term. Anyway, don’t you know Big Daddy Kane is black? Did you see that quote? At least one other cite comes from a black person, too.

    I’ll see if I can dig out the Robin Harris work that has any mention of the term, but it may take some time. He has a 1989 comedy CD where he used material similar to what became the 1992 movie, so perhaps it’s in there.

  3. did not see the BDK Quote and concede that my surfer buddies used the term liberally, now that you bring it to mind.

  4. Jon Waller says:

    In the late ‘90’s film “the Great White Hype”, a character actually defines this term as a Cadillac when explaining to the Samuel L. Jackson, Jeff Goldblum and Jamie Foxx characters: “merlot Brougham, it’s a…Cadillac.” Mr. Jackson’s character offers to bribe Jamie Foxx’s fighter by offering him jewels, cars, etc, about midway or one third into the movie.

  5. But does the character call a person that?

  6. Jon Waller says:

    No, just identified solely as a reference to the automobile in this one instance (the only reference) in the movie. Merlot was defined by the movie charachter as “two seperate color tones, a maroon or red, and brown”. The charachter then proceeds to define “Brougham” as the Cadillac.

  7. mike c. says:

    Ben Affleck used ‘broheim’ on a late 90’s “Saturday Night Live” skit when he hosted.  Remember the weirdo over-sexed couple played by Cheri Oteri and Chris Kattan? (They would get people caught up in their sexual come-ons until the poor victim went over-the-line and then the couple got outraged?  Affleck played a Middle-Eastern car salesman who, getting buddy-buddy with Kattan to make the sale, called him “homesnake…broheim”.  Looking at the citations, it might pre-date all the other examples for ‘broheim’.

  8. I first heard this used in 1980, by a friend from Brooklyn. While he is African-American, he used it to address male friends of all races. The word was pronounced “Broham.”

  9. My friends and I (from the Orange County/L.A. county border in Southern California) used to refer to each other as “broham” pretty regularly, sometime around the early 80’s (if I were to guess, around 1980).

    I’d always assumed it came from the car model, but can’t really back that up.

  10. MJE says:

    My cousins and I have grown up around the term “broheim” with the pronunciation being bro-heem since the time we were children.
    We’re not Jewish, not black, nor are we surfers: it’s just been in the family for years.

  11. SeanyG says:

    bro = brother
    heim = home

    literal translation = brother-home

    or brother from back home

    from germanic/scandinavian speaking immigrants to USA back in the day, passed down through generations to existing usage.

    Very simple origins and pretty cool term of endearment.

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