Beginning as early as the 14th century, a grocer (also called purveyor) was a dealer in comestible dry goods such as spices, pepper, sugar, and (later) cocoa, tea and coffee. These items were bought in bulk, hence the term grocer from the French "grossier" meaning wholesaler.

As increasing numbers of staple foodstuffs became available in cans and other less-perishable packaging, the trade expanded its province. Today, grocers deal in a wide-range of staple food-stuffs including such perishables as meats, produce and dairy products. Such goods are, hence, "groceries".

In the United States and United Kingdom, supermarkets and convenience stores are sometimes described as grocery businesses, or simply grocers. [For example, the largest trade paper for UK supermarkets and convenience stores is called "The Grocer"] The early supermarkets began as chains of grocer's shops. Clarence Saunders of Memphis, Tennessee invented the self-service grocery store with open stock in 1916, for which he received a US patent.

Notable Grocers

* Horatio G. Loomis, one of the organizers of the Chicago Board of Councelers


ee also

Grocery store

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • grocer — UK US /ˈgrəʊsər/ noun [C] COMMERCE ► (also grocer s) a store that sells food and small things for the home: »The UK s fourth biggest grocer operates 13 distribution centres. ► a person who owns or works in a store selling food and small things… …   Financial and business terms

  • Grocer — Gro cer, n. [Formerly written grosser, orig., one who sells by the gross, or deals by wholesale, fr. F. grossier, marchand grossier, fr. gros large, great. See {Gross}.] A trader who deals in meats, dairy products, produce, tea, sugar, spices,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • grocer — early 15c. (mid 13c. as a surname), one who buys and sells in gross, from Anglo Fr. grosser, O.Fr. grossier, from M.L. grossarius wholesaler, lit. dealer in quantity, from L.L. grossus coarse (of food), great, gross (see GROSS (Cf. gross)). Sense …   Etymology dictionary

  • grocer — ► NOUN ▪ a person who sells food and small household goods. ORIGIN originally in the sense «a person who sold things by the gross»: from Old French grossier, from Latin grossus gross …   English terms dictionary

  • grocer — [grō′sər] n. [ME grosser < OFr grossier, lit., dealer in the gross, wholesaler < ML grossarius < LL grossus: see GROSS] a storekeeper who sells food and various household supplies …   English World dictionary

  • grocer — [[t]gro͟ʊsə(r)[/t]] grocers 1) N COUNT A grocer is a shopkeeper who sells foods such as flour, sugar, and tinned foods. 2) N COUNT: oft the N A grocer or a grocer s is a shop where foods such as flour, sugar, and tinned foods are sold. [mainly… …   English dictionary

  • grocer — UK [ˈɡrəʊsə(r)] / US [ˈɡroʊsər] noun [countable] Word forms grocer : singular grocer plural grocers someone whose job is to sell food and other goods for the home in a small shop. The shop they work in is called a grocer s …   English dictionary

  • grocer — gro|cer [ˈgrəusə US ˈgrousər] n [Date: 1200 1300; : Old French; Origin: grossier person who sells in large quantities , from gros; GROSS1] 1.) someone who owns or works in a shop that sells food and other things used in the home 2.) grocer s a… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • grocer — noun (C) 1 someone who owns or works in a shop that sells food such as flour, sugar, food in cans, and other things used in the home 2 grocer s a grocer s shop …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • grocer — [ˈgrəʊsə] noun [C] 1) grocer s a small shop that sells food and other goods for the home 2) someone who owns or works in a grocer s shop …   Dictionary for writing and speaking English

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