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[am-uh-zon, -zuh n] /ˈæm əˌzɒn, -zən/
a river in N South America, flowing E from the Peruvian Andes through N Brazil to the Atlantic Ocean: the largest river in the world in volume of water carried. 3900 miles (6280 km) long.
Classical Mythology. one of a nation of female warriors said to dwell near the Black Sea.
one of a fabled tribe of female warriors in South America.
(often lowercase) a tall, powerful, aggressive woman.
any of several green parrots of the genus Amazona, of tropical America, often kept as pets.
Origin of Amazon
< Latin Amazōn < Greek Amazṓn, of obscure origin Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for amazons
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Miss Agnes Carroll was the third girl from the right in the first semi-circle of amazons, and very beautiful.

    Van Bibber and Others Richard Harding Davis
  • To find her match, we shall have to go to the fables that are told about the amazons.

    Stories Of Georgia Joel Chandler Harris
  • She is like the amazons of old; she must be courted by the sword.

    Life of Johnson James Boswell
  • It is true that they had assumed the dress of amazons, but this was only for the camp and the field.

    Richard I Jacob Abbott
  • The amazons were a warlike race of women of whom many traditions exist.

  • We find, also, that Lampedo and Marthesia were queens of the amazons.

    The Discovery of Guiana Sir Walter Raleigh
  • The amazons were a nation of masculine and ferocious women, who often figure in ancient histories and legends.

    Darius the Great Jacob Abbott
  • For nine days he watches the fair band of amazons as they ramble about.

    Russian Fairy Tales W. R. S. Ralston
  • This, no doubt, was the origin of the fable of nations of amazons found on the banks of the river.

    The Western World W.H.G. Kingston
British Dictionary definitions for amazons


any of various tropical American parrots of the genus Amazona, such as A. farinosa (green amazon), having a short tail and mainly green plumage


(Greek myth) one of a race of women warriors of Scythia near the Black Sea
one of a legendary tribe of female warriors of South America
(often not capital) any tall, strong, or aggressive woman
Derived Forms
Amazonian (ˌæməˈzəʊnɪən) adjective
Word Origin
C14: via Latin from Greek Amazōn, of uncertain origin


a river in South America, rising in the Peruvian Andes and flowing east through N Brazil to the Atlantic: in volume, the largest river in the world; navigable for 3700 km (2300 miles). Length: over 6440 km (4000 miles). Area of basin: over 5 827 500 sq km (2 250 000 sq miles)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for amazons



late 14c., from Greek Amazon (mostly in plural Amazones) "one of a race of female warriors in Scythia," probably from an unknown non-Indo-European word, possibly from an Iranian compound *ha-maz-an- "(one) fighting together" [Watkins], but in folk etymology long derived from a- "without" + mazos "breasts," hence the story that the Amazons cut or burned off one breast so they could draw bowstrings more efficiently.

The river in South America (originally called by the Spanish Rio Santa Maria de la Mar Dulce) rechristened by Francisco de Orellana, 1541, after an encounter with female warriors of the Tapuyas (or, as some say, beardless, long-haired male tribesmen; still others hold that the name is a corruption of a native word in Tupi or Guarani meaning "wave").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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amazons in Culture

Amazons definition

In classical mythology, a nation of warrior women. The Amazons burned or cut off one of their breasts so that they could use a bow and arrow more efficiently in war.

Note: Figuratively, an “Amazon” is a large, strong, aggressive woman.
Note: The Amazon River of South America was so named because tribes of women warriors were believed to live along its banks.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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