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mid-14c., "shopkeeper, especially one who stores, compounds, and sells medicaments," from Old French apotecaire (13c., Modern French apothicaire), from Late Latin apothecarius "storekeeper," from Latin apotheca "storehouse," from Greek apotheke "barn, storehouse," literally "a place where things are put away," from apo- "away" (see apo-) + tithenai "to put," from PIE root *dhe- "to put, to do" (see factitious). Same root produced French boutique and Spanish bodega. Cognate compounds produced Sanskrit apadha- "concealment," Old Persian apadana- "palace."
Drugs and herbs being among the chief items of non-perishable goods, the meaning narrowed 17c. to "druggist" (Apothecaries' Company of London separated from the Grocers' in 1617). Apothecaries formerly were notorious for "the assumed gravity and affectation of knowledge generally put on by the gentlemen of this profession, who are commonly as superficial in their learning as they are pedantic in their language" [Francis Grose, "A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue," 1796]. Hence, Apothecary's Latin, barbarously mangled, also known as Dog Latin.
apothecary a·poth·e·car·y (ə-pŏth'ĭ-kěr'ē)
n. pl. a·poth·e·car·ies
One that prepares and sells drugs and other medicines; a pharmacist.
rendered in the margin and the Revised Version "perfumer," in Ex. 30:25; 37:29; Eccl. 10:1. The holy oils and ointments were prepared by priests properly qualified for this office. The feminine plural form of the Hebrew word is rendered "confectionaries" in 1 Sam. 8:13.