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[uh-poth-uh-ker-ee] /əˈpɒθ əˌkɛr i/
noun, plural apothecaries.
a druggist; a pharmacist.
a pharmacy or drugstore.
(especially in England and Ireland) a druggist licensed to prescribe medicine.
Origin of apothecary
1325-75; Middle English (< Old French) < Medieval Latin apothēcārius seller of spices and drugs, Late Latin: shopkeeper, equivalent to Latin apothēc(a) shop, storehouse (< Greek apothḗkē; see apo-, theca) + -ārius -ary Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for apothecary


noun (pl) -caries
an archaic word for pharmacist
(law) a chemist licensed by the Society of Apothecaries of London to prescribe, prepare, and sell drugs
Word Origin
C14: from Old French apotecaire, from Late Latin apothēcārius warehouseman, from apothēca, from Greek apothēkē storehouse
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for apothecary

mid-14c., "shopkeeper, especially one who stores, compounds, and sells medicaments," from Old French apotecaire (13c., Modern French apothicaire), from Late Latin apothecarius "storekeeper," from Latin apotheca "storehouse," from Greek apotheke "barn, storehouse," literally "a place where things are put away," from apo- "away" (see apo-) + tithenai "to put," from PIE root *dhe- "to put, to do" (see factitious). Same root produced French boutique and Spanish bodega. Cognate compounds produced Sanskrit apadha- "concealment," Old Persian apadana- "palace."

Drugs and herbs being among the chief items of non-perishable goods, the meaning narrowed 17c. to "druggist" (Apothecaries' Company of London separated from the Grocers' in 1617). Apothecaries formerly were notorious for "the assumed gravity and affectation of knowledge generally put on by the gentlemen of this profession, who are commonly as superficial in their learning as they are pedantic in their language" [Francis Grose, "A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue," 1796]. Hence, Apothecary's Latin, barbarously mangled, also known as Dog Latin.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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apothecary in Medicine

apothecary a·poth·e·car·y (ə-pŏth'ĭ-kěr'ē)
n. pl. a·poth·e·car·ies
Abbr. ap.

  1. One that prepares and sells drugs and other medicines; a pharmacist.

  2. See pharmacy.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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