Bouillon vs. Bullion vs. Boolean

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Don’t confuse bouillon with bullion–one is a soup ingredient and the other is gold.

Both bouillon and bullion come from Old French, and in fact the same root word, boillon–which refers to the froth on the top of a boiling cauldron. They are pronounced almost the same: Merriam-Webster says that bouillon should be said BOOL-yon, while bullion should be pronounced BULL-yen. But bouillon is a beef broth, like in French cuisine or bouillon soup, and bullion refers to bricks of gold, like in Fort Knox.

Thanks to modern technology, we have bouillon cubes: those salty sugar-cube-size morsels that can be dissolved in boiling water for easy soup. But modern technology also gives us Boolean cubes, a graphical visualization of Boolean functions–which are used in the study of cryptography, for example.

If we can assume cubes of bullion make bad soup, I wouldn’t risk the Boolean cubes.

Here are some quotations from newspapers:

… CHICKEN FLAVOR GRANULATED BOUILLON , 4-ounce jar (makes 28 cups), 14 cents a pint. Absolutely classic bouillon flavor, not bad for a drink made predominantly of salt and sugar, but little or no relation to chicken. … (www.nytimes.com)

… which operates vaults in London, New York and Zurich there has been a ninefold increase in the number of gold bullion traders in the past five years, with Britons among the most enthusiastic buyers. Most of them, say BullionVault, … (www.theguardian.com)

… Gold Bullion Exchange, accused of bilking investors nationwide of millions of dollars worth of undelivered gold bullion, was stabbed to death today, apparently in an argument over use of his car, police said. … (www.nytimes.com)

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3 thoughts on “Bouillon vs. Bullion vs. Boolean”

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