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I have seen the word abarrotes on many stores. These are typically smaller stores that sell just basic food items. Mostly small neighborhood stores. I thought it meant something like “quick in and out store” but my friend told me the other day she always thought it meant groceries.

I looked up the word and saw that it indeed does mean groceries, but it also has a verb form, abarrotar, which means to pack or to fill up.

I can’t figure out how the two meanings are connected if they are. Anyone know?

  • 1

    When it comes to groceries, cultural references and whatever is happening in the society, always comes into play. In parts of Spain, these little corner grocery stores are called “los chinos” because they are frequently operated by Chinese people, whereas in New York City, they might be called “bodegas” or “Korean deli.”

    I’m wondering if in the case of “abarrotar” somewhere in the past somebody associated that word with the idea of stocking up on food and with time a kind of shorthand association got made that turned into idea into the concept of “groceries.”

    When I initially read this post I made the association between “abarrotes” and “provisions.”

    Just my 2 cents. 🙂

    Bilingual Blogger on July 28th, 2008
  • 2

    I can understand the idea of stocking up to mean a grocery store.

    I know that different areas, even within the US, have their own colloquial name for things like this. I am curious as to what I will find when I travel to Perú and Argentina next year.

    David on July 28th, 2008
  • 3

    aborrete means groceries but it is commonly used to refer a small neighborhood store that sells staple food items.

    none on October 15th, 2009


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