apoth·​e·​cary | \ ə-ˈpä-thə-ˌker-ē How to pronounce apothecary (audio) , -ˌke-rē\
plural apothecaries

Definition of apothecary

1 : one who prepares and sells drugs or compounds for medicinal purposes
2 : pharmacy

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for apothecary


chemist [British], druggist, pharmacist

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Apothecaries, Bodegas, and Boutiques

Apothecary, bodega, and boutique may not look very similar, but they are all related both in meaning and in origin. Each of these words can be traced back to a Latin word for “storehouse” (apotheca), and each one refers in English to a retail establishment of some sort. Although bodega initially meant “a storehouse for wine,” it now most commonly refers to a grocery store in an urban area, especially one that specializes in Hispanic groceries. Boutique has also taken on new meanings: its first sense in English (“a small retail store”) is still current, but it now may also denote “a small company that offers highly specialized products or services.” Of the three words, apothecary has changed the least; it has gone from referring solely to the person who sells drugs or medicines to also naming the store where such goods are sold.

Examples of apothecary in a Sentence

in olden days the apothecary had few drugs that actually cured anything, most substances being little more than pain relievers the historic village boasts an old-fashioned apothecary that's been there for almost a century and a half

Recent Examples on the Web

The apothecaries also did bleeding, draining a patient’s blood to rid the body of disease or toxins. Dennis Hohenberger, courant.com, "Horticulturalist Gives History Of The Apothecary," 30 Aug. 2019 Or an arm chair, so long as the cushions are included...the cushions are the essence of the chair—as well as a wink to Pottery Barn's own storyline with Rachel's gorgeous but controversial apothecary table. Ineye Komonibo, Marie Claire, "Pottery Barn's 'Friends' Collection Will Let You Turn Your House into Central Perk," 19 July 2019 Diana Gabaldon, author of the Outlander book series which inspired the Starz television show, has spoken out about wanting to write a separate book about the mysterious apothecary who crosses paths with the Frasers very briefly in Paris. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Diana Gabaldon Plans to Expand the Outlander Universe with a Book About Master Raymond," 7 July 2019 The Wrap burned to the ground years ago, and in its place has risen, phoenix-like, a modern apartment building, the anchor of which is a ground-level cafe, apothecary, and juice bar called JUEL, after its owners, Julie Sumanis and Elena Taylor. Kevin Cullen, BostonGlobe.com, "In White River Junction, sisters are doing it for themselves," 4 July 2019 The limited-edition collection will include Central Perk mugs, throw pillows and, of course, that titular apothecary table. Ashley Lee, Los Angeles Times, "Pottery Barn’s ‘Friends’ line lets you buy Rachel’s apothecary table," 15 July 2019 There’s no need to hit up that Colonial flea market of yours to get Rachel’s famous apothecary table from Friends. Mackenzie Schmidt, PEOPLE.com, "Pottery Barn Announces Friends Collection — And Yes, It Includes Rachel's Apothecary Table," 12 July 2019 Mugwort drying in a basket Wicker baskets hang at the back of the apothecary, providing extra space where fresh plants can dry before they are put to use. Zoe Greenberg, BostonGlobe.com, "Making medicine on the mountain," 10 July 2019 In its former life the cabinet served as a shop case for an apothecary in 1890s Florence. Cassandra Landry, Bon Appétit, "The Little Things: A Design Tour of San Francisco’s Rustic-Modern Wine Bar, Verjus," 10 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'apothecary.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of apothecary

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for apothecary

Middle English apothecarie, from Medieval Latin apothecarius, from Late Latin, shopkeeper, from Latin apotheca storehouse, from Greek apothēkē, from apotithenai to put away, from apo- + tithenai to put — more at do

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about apothecary

Statistics for apothecary

Last Updated

2 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for apothecary

The first known use of apothecary was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for apothecary



English Language Learners Definition of apothecary

: a person who prepared and sold medicines in past times


apoth·​e·​cary | \ ə-ˈpä-thə-ˌker-ē How to pronounce apothecary (audio) \
plural apothecaries

Kids Definition of apothecary


apoth·​e·​cary | \ ə-ˈpäth-ə-ˌker-ē How to pronounce apothecary (audio) \
plural apothecaries

Medical Definition of apothecary

1 : a person who prepares and sells drugs or compounds for medicinal purposes : druggist, pharmacist

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on apothecary

What made you want to look up apothecary? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!