The word “apothic”

apothic crush

My friend Dan, always with a question, writes:

Apothic: A mysterious word. Searching Google, apothic is used for a lot of commercial enterprises, particularly a cheap red California wine that appears to be popular. It also pops up as a scent, as an alternative medicine peddler, a carpentry shop, etc. But mostly the wine.

Urban Dictionary gives “beautiful or stunning,” but there’s only one entry which makes that definition highly suspect. The word “apoth” appears to have nothing to do with it, that is an archaic derogatory term for someone who is an apothecary, plus apoth is also a Northern English local word meaning “silly.” Not to be confused with aphotic, which means “unfathomable depth.” My spell checker keeps trying to make the word apothem, which is a line drawn in a polygon from the center to one of the sides.

So in desperation I checked the wine maker’s site, and found Apothic Red Wine is put out by Gallo. (Urp.) On their site I found, “Inspired by “Apotheca,” a mysterious place where wine was blended and stored in 13th century Europe…” So I find Wiktionary which defines apotheca as a warehouse or repository. But then I see “apotheca” appropriated as a coffee house and as another herb peddler, flower seller, a hair shop, etc.

So finally I zeroed in. It seems that an apotheca, back in ancient Greek times, was a storeroom usually in the upper part of a house used particularly for storing wine. So I’m guessing that “apothic” is a modern made-up word that has not been copyrighted (although it appears that someone tried to claim copyright) that is supposed to sound like something technical to do with wine. But, judging by the variety of commercial names, the use of the word is scattered all over the place.

Perhaps a Librarian can help me out here. Am I missing something? Or is this too tedious to bother with? Is this what I do when I get up early?

“So I’m guessing that ‘apothic’ is a modern made-up word” – well, all words are ultimately made up. And my best guess is someone made an adjective out of apotheca, which is the antecedent to boutique and bodega.

To your last sentence: I think you already have bulk of your answer, a variation of apothecary: 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, to place” (see theme). Same root produced French boutique and Spanish bodega. Cognate compounds produced Sanskrit apadha- “concealment,” Old Persian apadana- “palace.”

Surely THE answer you seek may be derived by the right librarian or linguist. But I’m hitting the same references as you are. I DO agree that the “beautiful” definition is suspect.

The only reference I found you did not mention is the Thesaurasize definition, “Of, or relating to the eye or to vision,” which I find even more puzzling. Maybe this was confused with aphotic, “being the deep zone of an ocean or lake receiving too little light to permit photosynthesis.”

I looked at the website. Yes, E. & J. GALLO WINERY CORPORATION has a lot of trademarks that are LIVE (active), Apothic, Apothic Brew, Apothic Dark, Apothic Fire, and Apothic Smoke. Two of them they have even trademarked not just the name but the logo design:

APOTHIC CRUSH (pictured)
The color(s) red is/are claimed as a feature of the mark. The mark consists of a red label with a letter “A” surrounded by various swirl designs centered at the top. Centered below is cursive lettering spelling out CRUSH in what appears to be fabric, and directly below that are printed capital letters spelling APOTHIC CRUSH. Forming a rectangle around the border of the label are swirl designs.

The color(s) red is/are claimed as a feature of the mark. The mark consists of a three dimensional configuration of a glass bottle for the goods, namely, a bottle with a round circumference and vertical sides that gradually curve in at the neck; the bottom of the bottle is concave. Around the middle of the circumference of the bottle it is shaded darker than the rest of the bottle, and at the top of the shaded section on one side of the bottle is a label, which consists of the red letter “A” surrounded by various red swirl designs. Directly underneath the label are the words APOTHIC RED in capital letters, with APOTHIC in white lettering and RED in red lettering. The top of the bottle is covered by red sealing material that goes halfway down the neck of the bottle and covers the cork at the top of the bottle.

GALLO has abandoned the trademarks for Apothic Frost, Apothic Ice, Apothic Lust, and Apothic Spice.

The only other company that has trademarked the word apothic is LUX BEAUTY GROUP, West Hollywood CALIFORNIA 90069.

This title is DEAD (abandoned) – ROYAL APOTHIC INVISIBLE SKIN: Cosmetics, toiletries, non-medicated skin care preparations, non-medicated bath and body gels and lotions, body washes and soaps for personal use

But this is LIVE (in use) – ROYAL APOTHIC: Non-medicated bath and body gels and lotions, non-medicated skin care preparations; soaps for personal use; perfumes; and scented room sprays.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

21 thoughts on “The word “apothic””

  1. Don’t really care about the technicalities of the name. I love Apothic Red, Dark and Crush. Apothic White is one of the few white wines I’ll drink. 🙂

  2. You know, my first thought was that it must have something to do with the aroma or scents of herbs found in an ancient apothecary. The connections you found were very fascinating, and veered far from apothecary, and I suspect they are correct (the wine cellar connection) but I still like my version. 🙂 Interesting post!

  3. Well, of course it’s a made up word. Spoken American is a swirl of words constantly being made up, which often get incorporated into other languages. A hundred years ago HL Mencken celebrated this tendency in The American Language. Today it seems like this tendency has accelerated, with words created by the general public and vetted online while others like apothic are imposed from above and spread by advertising.

    So Roger, new words are being made up so fast that maybe in a hundred years the way we are speaking will seem as archaic as Shakespeare’s language seems to us today. But do you see the structure of American changing? Are new rules replacing old ones or is that something that is and has been not changing much at all?

  4. Words seem to be made up faster. Or acronyms, and other word-like items. Whether they STICK is an issue. “Selfie” stuck, for instance, with zero help from me. I suppose it may be a reflection of a changing technology, and experience base, whereby one needs SOMETHING to describe a phenomenon. “Unboxing” has been around since 2006; I heard abouit it last week. I am NOT on the leading edge of new words!

  5. From Wikipedia: “Unboxing is the unpacking of new products, especially high tech consumer products. The product’s owner captures the process on video and later uploads it to the web.”

    So it’s not just a synonym for “unpacking,” it’s like you said, a response to new tech. It looks to me like a kind of video selfie. I seriously doubt I will ever intentionally watch one of those videos.

  6. Dr. Neil Degrasse Tyson, astrophysicist, said that the asteroid Apothus is named after the Greek god of death and darkness.

  7. “Apoth” is not a Northern English slang term meaning silly.
    The word is “‘a’p’orth”, a contraction of halfpennyworth, implying someone who is a light weight. It’s pronounced ape-earth. One might say: “Eee, yer daft ‘a’p’orth”

  8. Perhaps you can help me, Roger. I purchased a board game called “Apotheca” for my brother last year. It’s sub-title was “The Secret Potion Society.” I was hoping it would involve characters having to mix various elements and minerals as alchemists trying to discover the Philosopher’s Stone. (Alas, it was not, but a fun game nonetheless!) Before purchasing it I was researching the word’s origins and found the Greek origin re. repository of wines and the reference to the “Apothic” blended wines from CA. (I bought a bottle, not tasted yet, of their white and their red. They’ve blended not only various types of grapes, but put peach and apricot, vanilla and mocha in them. I’ll see if guests would like to try them!) I noticed on their label they describe the Apotheca as “a mysterious place where wine was blended and store in 13th century Europe.” I, however, found a reference on the internet, which I can no longer find, that described Apotheca as a mythical location in Ancient Greece where they kept their most precious blends of wine in honor of Dionysos, and that when nations invaded Greece (e.g., Rome, Persia) some of their armies went questing for this mythical location, a la Eldorado or Shambhala. I tried to show this to a disbelieving friend of mine but can no longer find any such reference on the internet–I wish I’d bookmarked it! Thanks for any help you can provide, Roger the Librarian!

  9. I’m with Lux Satanas on this one. If you were to turn “apotheosis” into an adjective, it becomes “apotheotic”. But in searching for that word, I find only two dictionaries that even list it, so I have a feeling that at some point, the adjective “apotheic” was imagined by someone and they shortened it to “apothic” for easier pronunciation, or maybe just jumped straight to “apothic”.

  10. There is also Royal Apothic Violette Orange Blossom Eau De Parfum

    I’m with you when people shorten a perfectly good word. This is off subject, but what really makes me giggle is the faux word a rapper made up: bougie. I can only guess the actual word is bourgeois – which means middle-class.

  11. Thank yiu for your interesting post. I too wondered about Apotheca. The wines Apothic, Crush and Inferno have transformed many a regular night in our Chicago condo into some outstanding conversational fun evenings. I love the smooth blends and your interpretation.

  12. Well, I’m a very old man, not important why I got here (but the idea of the “apotheca” as “a mysterious place where wine was blended and stored in the 13th Century” is a prime mover – think “The Drawing of The Dark” by Tim Powers, I’m a sucker for the unknown, mysterious, legendary, etc) and so I stumbled on your site.
    Just want to say, I loved it. Not sure what that means, but I’ll be back from time to time to check up on your stuff…
    Be happy, do your work, stay in touch,
    PS “cheap wine” galls me. It’s not expensive, but it’s quite drinkable. If your measure of wine’s quality is the price, find another beverage!

  13. My take on “Apothic” is different. Look at etymology:

    “Apo-” has a connotiation of being away, apart, distant, such as with “apogee”.

    “-thic, or -tic” suffixes are generally used to convert a noun into an adjective.

    So one might propose that “Apothic” would mean “Apartness” or “Distanceness”. In a marketing, so positive context it would suggest that the product is a high quality, perhaps unusal example vs its “competitors”.

  14. I probably should have thought this through before posting my impression. It occures to me that the word “Holy” implies a separateness, a wholly differentnesss. We use it to describe conceptions of God as opposed to humans. Thus, “Apothic” could be translated as “Holy”. Happy Easter!

  15. How do you say it? Like the first part of “apothecary” or more to rhyme with “boutique”?

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