late 14c., farmacie, "a medicine that rids the body of an excess of humors (except blood);" also "treatment with medicine; theory of treatment with medicine," from Old French farmacie "a purgative" (13c.) and directly from Medieval Latin pharmacia, from Greek pharmakeia "a healing or harmful medicine, a healing or poisonous herb; a drug, poisonous potion; magic (potion), dye, raw material for physical or chemical processing."
This is from pharmakeus (fem. pharmakis) "a preparer of drugs, a poisoner, a sorcerer" from pharmakon "a drug, a poison, philter, charm, spell, enchantment." Beekes writes that the original meaning cannot be clearly established, and "The word is clearly Pre-Greek." The ph- was restored 16c. in French, 17c. in English (see ph).
Buck ["Selected Indo-European Synonyms"] notes that "Words for 'poison', apart from an inherited group, are in some cases the same as those for 'drug' ...." In addition to the Greek word he has Latin venenum "poison," earlier "drug, medical potion" (source of Spanish veneno, French venin, English venom), and Old English lybb.
Meaning "the use or administration of drugs" is from c. 1400; the sense of "art or practice of preparing, preserving, and compounding medicines and dispensing them according to prescriptions" is from 1650s; that of "place where drugs are prepared and dispensed" is recorded by 1833.
word-forming element meaning "drug, medicine," also "poison," from Latinized form of Greek pharmakon "drug, poison" (see pharmacy).
also pharmacopoeia, "official book listing drugs and containing directions for their preparation," 1620s, from medical Latin, from Greek pharmakopoiia "preparation of drugs," from pharmakon "drug" (see pharmacy) + poiein "to make" (see poet). First used as a book title by Anutius Foesius (1528-1595) of Basel. Related: Pharmacopeial.
"pertaining to pharmacy or the art of preparing drugs," 1640s (pharmaceutic in the same sense is from 1540s), from Late Latin pharmaceuticus "of drugs," from Greek pharmakeutikos, from pharmakeus "preparer of drugs, poisoner" (see pharmacy). Pharmaceuticals "medicinal drugs" is attested by 1881. Related: Pharmaceutically.
1570s, "forming part of the accepted course of teaching," a sense now obsolete, from Latin magistralis "of a master," from magister "chief, director" (see master (n.)). Meaning "authoritative; of, pertaining to, or befitting a master" is from c. 1600. In pharmacy, of a remedy, etc., "devised by a physician for a particular case, prepared for the occasion" (c. 1600).
name for salt formerly much used in pharmacy and old chemistry, late 14c., from Old French sal, from Latin sal (genitive salis) "salt" (from PIE root *sal- "salt"). For sal ammoniac "ammonium chloride" (early 14c.), see ammonia. Sal volatile, "ammonium carbonate," especially as used in reviving persons who have fainted, is by 1650s, Modern Latin, literally "volatile salt" (see volatile).
"tedious and ineffectual person," 1935, American English carnival slang, of uncertain origin. Perhaps from jerkwater "petty, inferior, insignificant" [Barnhart, OED]; alternatively from, or influenced by, verbal phrase jerk off "masturbate" [Rawson]. The lyric in "Big Rock Candy Mountain," sometimes offered as evidence of earlier use, apparently is "Where they hung the Turk [not jerk] that invented work."
A soda-jerk (1915; soda-jerker is from 1883) is so called for the pulling motion required to work the taps.
The SODA-FOUNTAIN CLERK
Consider now the meek and humble soda-fountain clerk,
Who draweth off the moistened air with nimble turn and jerk,
[etc., Bulletin of Pharmacy, August, 1902]