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department store

noun
1.
a large retail store carrying a wide variety of merchandise and organized into various departments for sales and administrative purposes.
Origin
1885-1890
1885-90, Americanism
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for department-store

department store

noun
1.
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

n.

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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Difficulty index for department store

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15
18
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