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

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

The police have said that bodega workers called the police for help amid the attack, which unfolded around 11:40 p.m. on June 20. New York Times, "Bronx Mourns Teenager Killed in Vicious Attack," 27 June 2018 In the surveillance footage, the suspects follow Guzman-Feliz into the bodega, and grab him. Chris Harris,, "Video Shows Teen Being Dragged from NY Store and Stabbed with Machetes in 'Mistaken Identity' Killing," 25 June 2018 Photographer: Matt Martin, Prop Stylist: Leigh Gill It’s time to grow up and ditch the bodega umbrella. Andrew Goble, GQ, "The Best Umbrellas Are Tough Enough for Downpours and Cheap Enough to Lose Without Crying," 2 May 2018 In Toli Moli, a South Asian bodega at Union Market, where Duende District has one of its two permanent outposts, Spring has a shelf of books that center on the Asian diaspora: children’s books, cookbooks, coffee-table reads. Marissa J. Lang, Washington Post, "Bookstores by and for people of color are finding their industry niche," 1 May 2018 On June 20, Guzman-Feliz was dragged out of a Bronx bodega and slashed in the neck with a machete, police said. Bradford Betz, Fox News, "3 alleged gang members charged in Bronx killing get death threats from inmates: report," 4 July 2018 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

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

Learn More about bodega

Dictionary Entries near bodega


Bode's law






Statistics for bodega

Last Updated

25 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for bodega

The first known use of bodega was in 1656

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on bodega

See 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).


by force of circumstances

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Bee Cubed

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!