bo·de·ga | \ bō-ˈdā-gə \

Definition of bodega 

1 : a storehouse for maturing wine

3 : 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

After the attack, Guzman-Feliz ran back into the bodega. Danielle Garrand, CBS News, "Justice For Junior: NY proposes legislation to require small businesses to be safe havens for minors," 13 July 2018 The footage shows the suspects following Guzman-Feliz into the bodega and grabbing him. Jeff Truesdell,, "Teen's 'Mistaken Identity' Machete Killing Was Tied to Sex Tape Involving Attacker's Relative: Source," 27 June 2018 After the attack, the assailants fled and Lesandro ran back into the bodega. New York Times, "Bronx Mourns Teenager Killed in Vicious Attack," 27 June 2018 Who else would or could get away with wearing a knit playsuit and trench or a Sailor Moon/school-girl outfit to go to the bodega? Amanda Arnold, The Cut, "Talking to the Women Behind the Most Popular Sex and the City Fashion Instagram Account," 30 May 2018 On the night of June 20, while Junior was at a nearby bodega buying a beverage, police say members of the Dominican-American gang known as the Trinitarios dragged him from the store and stabbed him to death with knives and a machete. Zolan Kanno-youngs, WSJ, "Death of Bronx Teen Shines Light on NYPD Program Teaching Kids About Cops," 10 July 2018 And what would any New York re-creation be without its neighborhood staple—the bodega? Instead of selling breakfast sandwiches and packs of chewing gum however, the Bardi Baby Bodega contained baby bottles and diapers wrapped in pink ribbon. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "See Exclusive Photos From Cardi B’s Bronx Fairy-Tale Baby Shower," 28 June 2018 Video shows the suspects enter the bodega and dragging the victim out onto the street. Danielle Garrand, CBS News, "Justice For Junior: NY proposes legislation to require small businesses to be safe havens for minors," 13 July 2018 After being stabbed at least twice in the neck, Mr. Guzman-Feliz ran into the bodega and attempted to jump behind the cashier’s counter in an apparent attempt to hide, surveillance video shows. Zolan Kanno-youngs, WSJ, "NYPD Probes Response Time in Fatal Stabbing of Bronx Teen," 28 June 2018

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

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First Known Use of bodega

1656, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for bodega

Spanish, from Latin apotheca storehouse — more at apothecary

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Dictionary Entries near bodega


Bode's law






Statistics for bodega

Last Updated

13 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for bodega

The first known use of bodega was in 1656

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Spanish Central: Translation of bodega

Comments on bodega

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


occurring twice a year or every two years

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