What word would or combination of words would best describe a small store, in which only glasses (spectacles) are sold?

Here are some of my guesses, but I think they are all wrong:

  1. Eye ware
  2. Glass Shop
  3. Glasses Shop
  4. Glass Store
  5. Glasses Store
  6. Optics Store
  7. (What's your option?)

I need it for two cases: one is for a sign on that store, the other one is for this sentence:

"Two years earlier she had worked in a (small) ______."

It is very possible that there are different words (or combination of words) for these two different cases.

Please, remember that only glasses are being sold in that store/shop.

  • 7
    Opticians store or simply optician's? – RegDwigнt Dec 1 '10 at 9:59
  • Is this for a sign or for that sentence? Or it would be good in either case? – brilliant Dec 1 '10 at 10:15
  • 2
    @RegDwight - that's maybe an answer rather than a comment. It's certainly what a store like that would be called in the uk. – glenatron Dec 1 '10 at 11:04
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    @glenatron: feel free to take it as your answer. I've never been to the UK — it's a hassle —, so I was just guessing. For instance, I have no idea whether the apostrophe belongs there or not. – RegDwigнt Dec 1 '10 at 11:44
  • What locale does the OP have in mind? It seems like the UK seems to be in agreement about Optician's but in the US, I'm not sure I've heard that term in this sort of context. – Dusty Dec 1 '10 at 14:03

How about "Optician's?"

  • I guess it works for a sign, but would this really fit in that sentence: "Two years earlier she had worked in a small optician's"? – brilliant Dec 1 '10 at 12:31
  • Thanks, Rhodri, but that would work only in the UK, right? I mean, in the USA they wouldn't say this way, right? – brilliant Dec 1 '10 at 13:27
  • 2
    We use the word Optician in Canada too. Don't know about the US. – Mr. Shiny and New 安宇 Dec 1 '10 at 14:35
  • yes, they have opticians in the US. – Joel Spolsky Dec 2 '10 at 3:53
  • In the US, an optician is a person. The actual store is not usually called an optician's, just like a barber shop is not usually called a barber's, and a bakery not usually called a baker's. – Peter Shor Nov 17 '13 at 15:23

I would not suggest the use of "glass" or "glasses"; it would not be specific enough to identify the store as somewhere eyeglasses are sold. There are stores that sell collector's edition glasses (as in those that you drink from), and so there could be some confusion involved.

I would also not suggest "optics" as there are other types of optics out there as well - lenses and such for cameras, for example.

"Opticians" (with or without the apostrophe) would imply that the store also provides eye exams, at least to me. If that is the case - that there is an optometrist on site - then this would be a good choice, regardless of whether it is in the UK or here in the US.

I think the K.I.S.S. approach would be best - "eyeglass store". This it to the point and does not leave room for doubt as to what is sold there. It isn't fancy or elegant, but it is about as accurate as you can get.

  • 3
    Another suggestion would be "eyewear shop". Although Firefox thinks eyewear is misspelled. Eh. – Marthaª Dec 1 '10 at 15:07
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    @Martha : I like "eyewear" as well. Perhaps "eyeglass" might only imply prescription lenses; "eyewear" would also include sunglasses and such. – Will Dec 1 '10 at 15:19
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    I thought only ophthalmologists and optometrists could do exams; opticians just make & fit the glasses prescribed by one of the others. At least, in the USA. – kajaco Dec 2 '10 at 18:28
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    "Eyeglass" to me means telescope before spectacles. – Peter Taylor Mar 27 '11 at 21:55
  • @Peter : simply out of curiosity, can you elaborate why? I would not normally equate the two, so I am wondering why that correlation makes more sense to you (perhaps it is something I don't normally consider). – Will Mar 30 '11 at 17:04

In the U.S., you should call it an "optical shop" (1.27 million google hits), which I believe is the most common term in American English for it. "Optical store" only gets 1/5 of the hits, although as nohat points out, this is what both LensCrafters and J.C. Penney call their optical shops. I think they're trying to make their locations sound a little fancier.

In Britain, as many people have pointed out, it's an "optician's".

  • 2
    And I don't know why it's "optical shop" and not "optical store", but compare barbershop, coffee shop and bake shop with liquor store and corner store. Some things are shops, some are stores, and some (toy shop; toy store) can be either. – Peter Shor Mar 28 '11 at 13:44
  • It's always been a big trouble for me choosing between store and shop – brilliant Mar 28 '11 at 13:57
  • 1
    And counting Google hits, it appears that an upscale optical shop is an eyewear boutique. – Peter Shor Apr 8 '11 at 1:32
  • It's "optician" (or "optician's") in the US as well. – Hot Licks Feb 11 '15 at 1:40

For what it's worth, both LensCrafters and JC Penney Optical call their retail locations "optical stores".

  • That's a good point, but I was more on how common native American English speakers would refer to such outlets among themselves. – brilliant Mar 27 '11 at 23:48

Dispensary or optical dispensary.


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