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department store

a large retail store carrying a wide variety of merchandise and organized into various departments for sales and administrative purposes.
Origin of department store
1885-90, Americanism Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for department-store
Historical Examples
  • A woman left her baby in its carriage at the door of a department-store.

    Toaster's Handbook Peggy Edmund and Harold W. Williams, compilers
  • I believe I do, answered the son of the department-store proprietor.

  • The department-store clerk considers herself a higher social being than the ordinary working-girl, and in a way she is justified.

    What eight million women want Rheta Childe Dorr
  • After which, who may now dare say that genius may not blossom in a department-store?

    The Romance of a Great Store Edward Hungerford
  • Cassy's department-store investments reached her the next day.

    The Paliser case Edgar Saltus
  • Of course, the case of the department-store buyer and the teamster is irrelevantly extreme.

    The Women of Tomorrow William Hard
  • What determined success or failure was the department-store public.

    Love's Pilgrimage Upton Sinclair
  • Actually being fitted in a department-store to a real imported dress!

    Aunt Crete's Emancipation Grace Livingston Hill
  • Did you ever see a school of salesmanship for department-store women employees?

    The Women of Tomorrow William Hard
  • Like an army, the department-store of modern America is designed to move constantly forward.

    The Romance of a Great Store Edward Hungerford
British Dictionary definitions for department-store

department store

a large shop divided into departments selling a great many kinds of goods
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for department-store

department store


1878; a store that sells a variety of items, organized by department.

The "Department Store" is the outgrowth of the cheap counter business originated by Butler Brothers in Boston about ten years ago. The little "Five Cent Counter" then became a cornerstone from which the largest of all the world's branches of merchandising was to be reared. It was the "Cheap Counter" which proved to the progressive merchant his ability to sell all lines of wares under one roof. It was the Five Cent Counter "epidemic" of '77 and '78 which rushed like a mighty whirlwind from the Atlantic to the Pacific and all along its path transformed old time one line storekeepers into the wide-awake merchant princes of the present day. It was this same epidemic which made possible the world famed Department Stores of Houghton, of Boston; Macy, of New York; Wanamaker, of Philadelphia; and Lehman, of Chicago. ["American Storekeeper," 1885]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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