bo·​de·​ga | \ bō-ˈdā-gə How to pronounce bodega (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling 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 bodega in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Video surveillance showed Guzman-Feliz, who wanted to be a police officer, being dragged out of a Bronx bodega on his back by a group of men and then repeatedly punched and slashed by long knives and a machete. Minyvonne Burke, NBC News, "Machete killing of Bronx teen in case of mistaken identity leads to five convictions," 15 June 2019 Miranda joins an already fleshed out cast that includes Marc Anthony as Sonny’s father and Anthony Ramos as bodega owner Usnavi — a role Miranda himself played on Broadway — while Straight Outta Compton‘s Corey Hawkins will play the role of Benny. Ruth Kinane,, "Lin-Manuel Miranda joins the cast of his In The Heights movie adaptation," 14 June 2019 The murder captured the attention of music stars Rihanna and Cardi B. News outlets aired chilling surveillance video of the boy struggling for his life as he was dragged out of a bodega and slashed with a machete and knives. Robert Gearty, Fox News, "The gang just as vicious as MS-13 but without the notoriety: Savage Trinitarios return to the spotlight after years in the shadows," 28 July 2018 Lesandro Guzman-Feliz, 15, was dragged out of a bodega in the Belmont neighborhood on Wednesday night and stabbed with machetes by several attackers in what investigators suspect was a case of mistaken identity by members of a gang. New York Times, "Seven Suspects Held in Slaying of Bronx Teen Lesandro Guzman-Feliz," 25 June 2018 Bleecker Street had been populated with antique stores, bodegas, independent clothing shops and dry cleaners. Keiko Morris, WSJ, "Pop-Up Stores and Dive Bars: How a Property Developer Aims to Cure NYC’s Empty Storefronts," 30 Oct. 2018 And given that everything in the collection is priced between $18 and $55, there’ll be enough left in the budget to buy groceries at the bodega. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "Emily Ratajkowski Wants You to Wear Her New Underwear Collection to the Bodega," 6 Feb. 2019 Brooklyn bodega owner Manny Valdez knows there’s a change in the customers visiting his East New York store. Melanie Grayce West, WSJ, "New York Helps Give Some of Its Iconic Bodegas a Makeover," 11 Aug. 2018 But those investigators have no legal authority to force a bodega owner or a property manager to hand over surveillance footage. Joseph Goldstein, New York Times, "Police ‘Testilying’ Remains a Problem. Here Is How the Criminal Justice System Could Reduce It.," 22 Mar. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on bodega

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with bodega

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).


a device or gadget

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

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!