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Are You a Bromide or a Sulphite?

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Early 20th-century humorist Gelett Burgess is credited with coining the word blurb for “a bit of promotional language,” such as recommendations on a book jacket. To create a buzz for his 1906 book Are You A Bromide?, Burgess devised advertising copy featuring a shouting woman named Miss Belinda Blurb next to text effusively praising the book, which jokingly divided people into two categories: Bromides, given to boring and sedate pronouncements, and Sulphites, who are peppy and energetic. This helped popularize the use of bromide, which came to mean more generally “platitude” or “cliché.” Burgess also wrote the poem “The Purple Cow.” This is part of a complete episode.

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