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[az-tek] /ˈæz tɛk/
a member of a Nahuatl-speaking state in central Mexico that was conquered by Cortés in 1521.
Also called classical Nahuatl. the variety of Nahuatl that served as the medium of Aztec civilization, aboriginally written in a chiefly pictographic script.
Compare Nahuatl (def 2).
the Nahuatl language.
Origin of Aztec
1780-90; < Spanish azteca < Nahuatl aztēcah, plural of aztēcatl person from Aztlān, the legendary place of origin of the Aztecs
Related forms
Aztecan, adjective
post-Aztec, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for Aztec
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It is impossible to enter here into details on the ancient Aztec society.

    The Races of Man Joseph Deniker
  • The love of the Aztec race for warm, bright colors is seen everywhere.

    Aztec Land Maturin M. Ballou
  • The early migrations of the two Aztec bands and their relationship, it may be said in passing, are as yet extremely obscure.

    The Myths of the New World Daniel G. Brinton
  • This place is remarkable for the accumulation of Aztec and Spanish antiquities.

    Aztec Land Maturin M. Ballou
  • We find a like conception in the Aztec wind-god Tezcatlipoca, who was looked upon as the primary source of existence.

British Dictionary definitions for Aztec


a member of a Mexican Indian people who established a great empire, centred on the valley of Mexico, that was overthrown by Cortés and his followers in the early 16th century
the language of the Aztecs See also Nahuatl
of, relating to, or characteristic of the Aztecs, their civilization, or their language
Word Origin
C18: from Spanish Azteca, from Nahuatl Aztecatl, from Aztlan, their traditional place of origin, literally: near the cranes, from azta cranes + tlan near
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 Aztec

1787, from Spanish Azteca, from Nahuatl aztecatl (plural aztecah), meaning "coming from Aztlan," name of their legendary place of origin, usually said to lie somewhere in what is now southwestern U.S.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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