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[am-fer-uh] /ˈæm fər ə/
noun, plural amphorae
[am-fuh-ree] /ˈæm fəˌri/ (Show IPA),
amphoras. Greek and Roman Antiquity
a large two-handled storage jar having an oval body, usually tapering to a point at the base, with a pair of handles extending from immediately below the lip to the shoulder: used chiefly for oil, wine, etc., and, set on a foot, as a commemorative vase awarded the victors in contests such as the Panathenaic games.
Compare pelike, stamnos.
Origin of amphora
1300-50; Middle English < Latin < Greek amphoreús, equivalent to am(phi)- amphi- + phoreús bearer (i.e., handle), akin to phérein to bear
Related forms
amphoral, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for amphora
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • At the feet were the bones of an ox, an iron knife, four amphora and some lances--these were in a very rusty condition.

  • It was the custom to write the age of the wine and the vintage on the amphora, or cask.

  • Standing on the table was an amphora of gilt pasteboard which fostered this illusion.

    A Mummer's Tale Anatole France
  • The index-finger hole is very large and eccentric, forming the handle of the "amphora."

  • He was making an amphora of the common kind women and donkeys carry to the fountains.

    The Red Rugs of Tarsus Helen Davenport Gibbons
  • In the scene on the neck of this amphora appears a priestess followed by four maidens who bear upon their heads a long chest.

  • The unsuspecting brown girl trips jauntily down to the river-bank to fill her amphora—usually a battered Standard Oil tin.

    Where the Strange Trails Go Down E. Alexander Powell
  • Properly, the amphora, or earthen vessel with two handles, in which wine was usually kept.

  • Your idea, Symphorien, seems to be to drain that amphora to the very bottom.

    The Poniard's Hilt Eugne Sue
British Dictionary definitions for amphora


noun (pl) -phorae (-fəˌriː), -phoras
an ancient Greek or Roman two-handled narrow-necked jar for oil, wine, etc
Word Origin
C17: from Latin, from Greek amphoreus, from amphi- + phoreus bearer, from pherein to bear
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 amphora

early 14c., "two-handled vessel for holding wine, oil, etc.," from Latin amphora from Greek amphoreus "an amphora, jar, urn," contraction of amphiphoreus, literally "two-handled," from amphi- "on both sides" (see amphi-) + phoreus "bearer," related to pherein "to bear" (see infer). Also a liquid measure in the ancient world, in Greece equal to 9 gallons, in Rome to 6 gallons, 7 pints.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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