Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.

department store

a large retail store carrying a wide variety of merchandise and organized into various departments for sales and administrative purposes.
Origin of department store
An Americanism dating back to 1885-90 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for department store
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The lieutenant may go back to his grocery wagon or on to his department store.

    The American Mind Bliss Perry
  • He was a clerk in a department store, and his board was generally in arrears.

    Cap'n Warren's Wards Joseph C. Lincoln
  • And she gave me a note to a department store which will probably take me on.

    Jane Journeys On Ruth Comfort Mitchell
  • Evidently they have not learned the ways of the American department store!

    Travels in the Far East

    Ellen Mary Hayes Peck
  • She worked about a year with a prominent firm, then in a department store.

British Dictionary definitions for department store

department store

a large shop divided into departments selling a great many kinds of goods
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for department store

1878; a store that sells a variety of items, organized by department.

The "Department Store" is the outgrowth of the cheap counter business originated by Butler Brothers in Boston about ten years ago. The little "Five Cent Counter" then became a cornerstone from which the largest of all the world's branches of merchandising was to be reared. It was the "Cheap Counter" which proved to the progressive merchant his ability to sell all lines of wares under one roof. It was the Five Cent Counter "epidemic" of '77 and '78 which rushed like a mighty whirlwind from the Atlantic to the Pacific and all along its path transformed old time one line storekeepers into the wide-awake merchant princes of the present day. It was this same epidemic which made possible the world famed Department Stores of Houghton, of Boston; Macy, of New York; Wanamaker, of Philadelphia; and Lehman, of Chicago. ["American Storekeeper," 1885]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for department store

Word Value for department

Scrabble Words With Friends