Bromine was discovered by two scientists working independently. In the Autumn of 1825, student K. Lowig took a bottle of a reddish liquid with an unpleasant smell to the Laboratory of Medicine and Chemistry of Prof. L. Gemlin, at the University of Heidelberg. Lowig told Gemlin that the liquid, of mineral origin, resulted from the treatment with gaseous chlorine, thus explaining the red color. The substance responsible for that red color was extracted with the help of ether, giving origin to a pink liquid later known as bromine.

Almost simultaneously, A. Balard, who was working in a pharmacy school in Montpellier, isolated a substance with the same properties of the liquid obtained by Lowig. At first he thought that it was a chlorine or iodine compound. As he could not isolate the compound, he suggested to have found a new chemical element. Balard suggested the name "muride", from the Latin word "muria" for brine.

The French Academy of Science, in turn, proposed the name "brome" from the Greek word bromos meaning stench to indicate its strong irritating odor.