AskDefine | Define apothecary

Dictionary Definition

apothecary n : a health professional trained in the art of preparing and dispensing drugs [syn: pharmacist, druggist, chemist, pill pusher, pill roller]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • a RP /əpˈɒθɪkˌəɻi/
  • a US /əpˈɑθəkˌəɻi/


  1. A person who makes and sells drugs and/or medicines.
  2. A drugstore; pharmacy.


a person
a drugstore

See also

Extensive Definition

Apothecary () is a historical name for a medical who formulates and dispenses materia medica to physicians, surgeons and patients — a role now served by a pharmacist.
In addition to pharmacy the apothecary also offered general medical advice and a range of services that are now performed solely by other specialist practitioners, such as surgery and midwifery. Apothecaries often operated through a retail shop, which in addition to ingredients for medicines, would also sell tobacco and patent medicines.
In its investigation of herbal and chemical ingredients, the work of the apothecary may be regarded as a precursor of the modern sciences of chemistry and pharmacology, prior to the formulation of the scientific method.
The first apothecary shops were founded during the Middle Ages by Muslim practitioners. By the 15th century, the apothecary gained the status of a skilled practitioner, but by the end of the 19th century, the medical professions had taken on their current institutional form, with defined roles for physicians and surgeons, and the role of the apothecary was more narrowly conceived as that of dispensing pharmacist.
In England, the apothecaries merited their own livery company, the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries, founded in 1617. Elizabeth Garrett Anderson became the first woman to gain a medical qualification in Britain when she passed the Society's examination in 1865.
Apothecaries used the now obsolete apothecaries' system to provide precise weighing of small quantities.


apothecary in German: Apotheker
apothecary in Spanish: Boticario
apothecary in French: Apothicaire
apothecary in Dutch: Apotheker
apothecary in Low German: Aftheiker
apothecary in Swedish: Apotekare

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

antique store, automobile showroom, bookstore, bootery, candy store, chemist, cigar store, clothiers, clothing store, confectionery, dispenser, dress shop, druggist, drugstore, dry goods store, florists, fur salon, furniture store, gallipot, gift shop, haberdashery, hardware store, hat shop, hobby shop, ironmongery, jewelers, jewelry store, leather goods store, liquor store, luggage shop, milliners, novelty shop, package store, pharmaceutist, pharmacist, pharmacy, posologist, saddlery, schlock house, schlock shop, secondhand shop, secondhand store, shoe store, smoke shop, specialty shop, sporting goods store, stationers, stationery store, sweater shop, sweet shop, thrift shop, tobacco store, tobacconists, toy shop, trimming store, used-car lot
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