bo·​de·​ga bō-ˈdā-gə How to pronounce bodega (audio)
: a storehouse for maturing wine
: a usually small grocery store in an urban area
specifically : one specializing in Hispanic groceries

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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 bodega in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Hundreds of miles from its Quebec origin, the smoke settled among skyscrapers and schools, blew through fences and alleys, hovered outside brownstones and bodegas. Carolyn Kormann, The New Yorker, 8 Aug. 2023 Fashioned somewhat after the bodegas or small grocery stores most associated with cities like New York, the market side offers quality snacks, such as gourmet nuts, dark chocolate and frozen treats like ice cream and ice pops. Susan Selasky, Detroit Free Press, 10 Sep. 2023 The area is a no-man’s-land, devoid of any of the bodegas and fruit stands that make neighborhoods in New York feel like neighborhoods in New York. Adriane Quinlan, Curbed, 29 Aug. 2023 Mexico's bodega format has proven extremely popular, Walmart said, as the company celebrated the 65th anniversary of the Bodega Aurrera stores in that country. Serenah McKay, Arkansas Online, 18 Aug. 2023 On Wednesday, rapper and New York City-native Ice Spice proved that bodegas are more than just a place to get a quick bite or a cheap coffee. Averi Kremposky, Peoplemag, 26 July 2023 Out of the tank, out of Zeiger’s apartment, back onto 23rd Street with its Orange Theory and Gloss Lab and organic bodega, the jostling noise and thick humidity of the world returned. Fran Hoepfner, Curbed, 8 Aug. 2023 In New York, a growing number of bodegas and restaurants have turned to surcharges to counter the cost of accepting credit cards. Jennifer Surane, Fortune, 30 July 2023 In addition to more tables and chairs, the empanada spot now has a full bar, a lounge decorated with colorful couches and chairs and an in-house bodega selling to-go snacks and Empanada Lady merch. Amanda Yeager, Baltimore Sun, 19 July 2023 See More

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

Word History


Spanish, from Latin apotheca storehouse — more at apothecary

First Known Use

1656, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of bodega was in 1656

Dictionary Entries Near bodega

Cite this Entry

“Bodega.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Oct. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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