apothecary

noun

apoth·​e·​cary ə-ˈpä-thə-ˌker-ē How to pronounce apothecary (audio)
-ˌke-rē
plural apothecaries
1
: one who prepares and sells drugs or compounds for medicinal purposes
2

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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 Southern Cross University / AFP - Getty Images Until now, the reason for the species' demise had been a mystery since one tooth was found in a Hong Kong apothecary in 1935 by the German Dutch paleontologist Gustav Heinrich Ralph von Koenigswald. Mithil Aggarwal, NBC News, 11 Jan. 2024 For Holiday this was recent history, to us as distant as chain mail and apothecaries. Elizabeth Barber, Harper's Magazine, 2 Feb. 2024 The addition of Santa Maria Novella will be the Shops’ first apothecary/perfumery. Miami Staff, Miami Herald, 30 Jan. 2024 Mystic Journey Bookstore is the spot to go for all crystals and ritual objects, and Anima Mundi is a modern-day herbal apothecary with a tonic bar and medicinal herbal garden. Krista Simmons, Sunset Magazine, 29 Jan. 2024 Twenty years later, the company has locations spanning six continents, with a number of flagship apothecaries from New York to Hong Kong. Demetrius Simms, Robb Report, 23 Jan. 2024 Services available include apothecary, water dancing, infrared therapy, synergistic skin treatments, massages and fitness classes. Jenny Rudolph, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 29 Jan. 2024 As an adult, Michel would first establish himself as an apothecary — a kind of Renaissance pharmacist who dispensed folk medications of varying levels of efficacy. Stephen C. George, Discover Magazine, 25 Dec. 2023 The Sixth Avenue shop opened as a true apothecary in 1838. Margaux Anbouba, Vogue, 1 Dec. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'apothecary.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Middle English apothecarie, apotecarie, pothecarie, borrowed from Anglo-French & Medieval Latin; Anglo-French apothecaire, ipotecaire, borrowed from Medieval Latin apotēcārius, apothēcārius, going back to Late Latin, "shopkeeper," from Latin apothēca "storeroom, storehouse, repository" (borrowed from Greek apothḗkē, from apothē-, variant stem of apotithénai "to put away, stow away" —from apo- apo- + tithénai "to put, place"— + -kē, noun suffix) + -ārius -ary entry 1 — more at do entry 1

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near apothecary

Cite this Entry

“Apothecary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/apothecary. Accessed 19 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

apothecary

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

Medical Definition

apothecary

noun
apoth·​e·​cary ə-ˈpäth-ə-ˌker-ē How to pronounce apothecary (audio)
plural apothecaries
1
: a person who prepares and sells drugs or compounds for medicinal purposes : druggist, pharmacist
2

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