apo·​the·​ci·​um ˌa-pə-ˈthē-shē-əm How to pronounce apothecium (audio)
plural apothecia ˌa-pə-ˈthē-shē-ə How to pronounce apothecium (audio)
: a spore-bearing structure in many lichens and fungi consisting of a discoid or cupped body bearing asci on the exposed flat or concave surface
apothecial adjective

Word History


borrowed from New Latin apothēcium, from Greek apothḗkē "storehouse, repository" + New Latin -ium -ium — more at apothecary

Note: The term was introduced by the Swedish botanist Erik Acharius (1757-1819) in Methodus qua omnes detectos lichenes (Stockholm, 1803), p. ix.

First Known Use

1805, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of apothecium was in 1805

Dictionary Entries Near apothecium

Cite this Entry

“Apothecium.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/apothecium. Accessed 1 Mar. 2024.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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