Definition:Apothecaries' Weights and Measures/Linguistic Note

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Linguistic Note on Apothecaries' Weights and Measures

An apothecary is a medical professional who specialises in formulating and dispensing materia medica to physicians, surgeons and patients.

The modern counterpart is pharmacist (also referred to as a (dispensing) chemist in British English).

However, in some languages and regions the word apothecary can still be found referring to a retail pharmacy or a pharmacist who owns one.

Thus the apothecaries' system of weights and measures focuses largely on small weights and volumes, where the materials being exchanged were renowned for being dispensed in tiny amounts.

The word apothecary derives from the Ancient Greek word ἀποθήκη (apothḗkē), meaning repository or storehouse.

The word migrated via the Latin apotheca, also meaning repository, storehouse or warehouse, to the Medieval Latin apothecarius, meaning storekeeper, and eventually to the Old French apotecaire.