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Are we losing our language - Chemists vs Pharmacies ?

(95 Posts)
BetsyTrotwood Sun 17-Jul-11 15:17:01

Can anyone explain why chemists no longer seem to exist? Every other chemist shop on every high street in England seems to have morphed into a "pharmacy"? Even Boots no longer calls itself "Boots the Chemists" which is was known as for decades. When did the change start? And why? What's the difference between a chemist and a pharmacist?

BetsyTrotwood Sun 17-Jul-11 15:21:34

[Amended to include Convert Links Automatically]
Can anyone explain why chemists no longer seem to exist? Every other chemist shop on every high street in England seems to have morphed into a "pharmacy"? Even Boots no longer calls itself "Boots the Chemists" which is was known as for decades. When did the change start? And why? What's the difference between a chemist and a pharmacist?

crimson Sun 17-Jul-11 15:44:11

At least we haven't gone Stateside [as we do with most things] and call them drugstores. Wonder if it's anything to do with the fact that chemists at one time made the drugs whereas now they just dispense drugs that other companies have made?

Baggy Sun 17-Jul-11 15:52:45

A pharmacist concentrates on pharmaceutical chemistry which is the part of chemistry (pharmaceutics) that deals with medicines. So 'pharmacy', used in the way you describe, is actually more accurate than chemist. So is drug store. I understood that the earliest pharmacists were called apothecaries, unless you want to include witch doctors as part of the same profession. wink

BetsyTrotwood Sun 17-Jul-11 16:15:33

Maybe. Or perhaps "pharmacy" sounds more posh/European. Maybe a chemist/pharmacist could explain the difference. Certainly we do seem to be losing basic ingredients from the shelves - all those useful household basics like ammonia, beeswax, iodine and so on are fast becoming unobtainable. And before instant tanning lotions became available, a handful of potassium permanganate turned our legs a wonderful and hideous deep orange. Now everything is incorporated into a branded product at an inflated price. In fact, Boots seems now to be nothing more than a glorified cosmetics shop.

I have to say I do like the drugstore word, sounds vaguely illicit and very exotic!

BetsyTrotwood Sun 17-Jul-11 16:17:27

To Baggy: Thanks for that explanation!

Annobel Sun 17-Jul-11 16:19:50

My father was a chemist - not a pharmacist. Using the latter avoids confusion.

Baggy Sun 17-Jul-11 16:20:46

According to Chambers dictionary, 'chemist' and related words come, via Greek, from Egypt. Pharmacy comes from Greek.

Like a lot of 'English' words.

crimson Sun 17-Jul-11 18:53:32

thers a lovely shop in Coldstream that is now a pet shop but used to be a chemists. Got all the old wooden drawers with names written on such as [I think] opium? Whatever is was I asked the shopkeeper if I could sniff it smile.

Annobel Sun 17-Jul-11 19:20:34

Of course, we could revert to the older 'apothecary'.

seraphicDigitalis Sun 17-Jul-11 20:22:05

What about podiatry? You can only find a chiropodist if you look very hard. And
train station???????????????? 'Bus' station yes, but only because the default is/used to be a place where trains were caught/waited for, boarded. So what about 'tram' station, 'liner' station, 'plane'..................

Shut up Dig, and go home.

Baggy Sun 17-Jul-11 20:56:22

Ha! Ha! Let it out, dig, let it out! You'll feel better for it. grin

crimson Sun 17-Jul-11 21:28:12

While I've been working on my garden I've unearthed several little glass bottles; in fact I keep wanting to dig the garden so I can find some more. I'd love to know what tinctures [I LOVE that word] or potions they contained. Living in a horrid newish box of a house it gives me a nice sense of the past.

BetsyTrotwood Sun 17-Jul-11 22:15:40

Crimson, yes isn't tincture a good word. And I love " unguents".

BetsyTrotwood Sun 17-Jul-11 22:42:43

And emollients.

glammanana Sun 17-Jul-11 22:50:02

DH is a Chemist but not worked at a Pharmacy he worked at Lever Bros
perfecting the Chemicals etc that went into soap-powders and cleaning products
We have an old fashioned Chemist shop here in New Brighton that sells everything that you could think of,and it's a pleasure to brouse around when
you have a few minute's to spare,lovely Bromley soaps and old fashioned
lavender smellies and every potion for lumps and bumps that is known to man I
think

grannyactivist Mon 18-Jul-11 01:36:53

Tincture, unguents, emollients and of course, embrocation. Yummy!

susiecb Mon 18-Jul-11 09:26:30

Podiatrist and chiropodists are very different. The former is qualified to operate on the feet but the latter is not. Of course they could be both.

helshea Mon 18-Jul-11 09:32:33

What about "loft" "attic"?

jangly Mon 18-Jul-11 09:40:39

helshea, we just say "in the roof". smile

helshea Mon 18-Jul-11 09:42:59

Jangly, that makes much more sense!

helshea Mon 18-Jul-11 11:06:22

When did the wireless become a radio? I'm sure there is a good reason, and there are many differences, but my dad's DAB radio is still a wireless to him.

susiecb Mon 18-Jul-11 11:32:07

I'm still saying 'the pictures' and my daughter corrects me by saying 'cinema' better than 'the movies' I suppose.

BetsyTrotwood Mon 18-Jul-11 11:36:47

And crime seems to have been eradicated. Unfortunately we get a lot of criminality in its place.

BetsyTrotwood Mon 18-Jul-11 11:49:36

Yes, that's an odd one. When they used to have wires they were called wirelesses and now the wires have gone making them truly wire-less they are called radios. Maybe it happened when transistor radios came in? Then again, why weren't those called transistor wirelesses?