- grocery (n.)
- mid-15c., "goods sold by a grocer;" earlier the name of the Grocer's Hall in London (early 15c.), from Old French grosserie, from grossier "wholesale merchant" (see grocer). Meaning "a grocer's shop" is by 1803, especially in American English, where its use in that sense restricted the "goods sold by a grocer" meaning to the plural, groceries, by mid-19c.
GROCERY. A grocer's shop. This word is not in the English dictionaries except in the sense of grocer's ware, such as tea, sugar, spice, etc.; in which sense we also use it in the plural. [Bartlett, "Dictionary of Americanisms," 1859]
Self-service groceries were a novelty in 1913 when a Montana, U.S., firm copyrighted the word groceteria (with the ending from cafeteria used in an un-etymological sense) to name them. The term existed through the 1920s.