Public Safety Training Facility

Monroe Community College
Rochester, New York


A combined term from a Medieval Latin term "apothcrius" both from Late Latin, a clerk, from Latin apothca, storehouse, and from Greek apothk : apo-, away; see apo- + thk, receptacle.

\A*poth"e*ca*ry\, n.; pl. Apothecaries. One who prepares, stores and sells drugs or compounds for medicinal purposes.

Historically, in early England an apothecary was one of a privileged class of practitioners, a kind of sub-physician. The surgeon apothecary was the ordinary family medical attendant. One who sells drugs and makes up prescriptions is now commonly called in England and America, a druggist or a pharmacist.

Apothecary System

Apothecaries' weight, the outdated system of weights and measurement by which medical prescriptions were formerly compounded. The pound and ounce are the same as in Troy weight; they differ only in the manner of subdivision. The ounce is divided into 8 drams, 24 scruples, 480 grains. Grains of sand were often use on a balance beam to determine drug quantity. (not very accurate by today's standard) Do you know why?

Updated: January 24, 2003