Boutique is a very French-sounding word, and apothecary is as Latin as anything. The words sound nothing alike, but they both go back to Greek. How? Boutique, as anyone can guess, is obviously a loan from French boutique, and that traces to Old Provencal botica, which meant something more like a "general store" than the "small shop" connotation of boutique. Botica is from Latin apoteca, which meant "storehouse" and is the root of apothecary, through Old French apotecaire, where the meaning evolved from "store" to "pharmacy" (apothecary, surprisingly, is also the root of bodega, through Spanish bodega, "wineshop". P to b switches were common). Latin apotheca is from Greek apotheke, which meant "repository" and comes from apotithemi, which meant "to put away", since you put things away in a repository (but take them out of a shop, showing a complete switch in definition). This in turn is a portmanteau of apo, "away", and tithemi, "to put". Apo traces to the Proto-Indo-European root hepo ("away") and tithemi comes from another PIE root, dheh, or "put". So! Your local drugstore and high-end retail store share more connections than they'd like to admit.
Adam Aleksic is a 220-month-old, 2800-ounce high school senior with disturbing interests in etymology, vexillology, geography, board games, limericks, and law. Adam will be studying linguistics at Harvard University in the fall.
The Etymology Nerd