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

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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 Generally, lines to enter the bodega aren’t bad—only about five minutes on busy periods during the weekends, says Luke Horgan. Aarian Marshall, Wired, "As Cities Reopen, Expect to Wait in Lots of Lines," 15 June 2020 The graffiti has been scrubbed off the bodega on my block. Brian Stelter, CNN, "Conservative media is living in the past as unrest subsides across the US," 10 June 2020 At a bodega on Avenue B, Juan Ignacio Mendez postponed opening from 7 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. to clear debris and remove boards that covered the windows top to bottom. Max Abelson,, "NYC Businesses Already Hit by Covid Now Must Reopen Amid Rubble," 3 June 2020 Because it has been temporarily closed to the public, the bodega has been fulfilling its mission in another way. Ryan Martin, Indianapolis Star, "'We're not the generation of tomorrow': Young black leaders rise to challenge of coronavirus," 4 May 2020 In addition to people like doctors, nurses, and firefighters, grocery store employees — whether at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, or your local bodega — are now considered essential workers during the global coronavirus pandemic. Cait Munro,, "A Trader Joe’s Employee Talks Hazard Pay, Health Insurance, & More," 8 May 2020 Though the effort has now outgrown Cleo's space, the bodega emerged as just one of many partners. Ryan Martin, Indianapolis Star, "'We're not the generation of tomorrow': Young black leaders rise to challenge of coronavirus," 4 May 2020 When Gonzalez noticed that grocery store shelves were low on bread, baker Diego Hernandez started preparing loaves of Foko’s bread to sell at the Logan Street Market bodega. Dahlia Ghabour, The Courier-Journal, "These Kentucky businesses have suffered in the pandemic, but they're fighting to survive," 20 Apr. 2020 Officers later found Jimenez in a bodega and arrested him. Emma Colton, Washington Examiner, "VIDEO: Man wearing medical face mask caught assaulting New York police officer," 8 Apr. 2020

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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Time Traveler for bodega

Time Traveler

The first known use of bodega was in 1656

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Statistics for bodega

Last Updated

28 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Bodega.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Jul. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on bodega

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with bodega

Spanish Central: Translation of bodega

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