noun, plural am·pho·rae [am-fuh-ree] /ˈæm fəˌri/, am·pho·ras. 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 formsam·pho·ral, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for amphora

urn, ornament, vase

Examples from the Web for amphora

Contemporary Examples of amphora

Historical Examples of amphora

  • It was equal to one-third of the amphora, and therefore to nearly two gallons English.

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

  • She was there, in the sun and surrounded by vermin, as pure as an amphora, fragrant as a flower.

  • I should say an amphora, which is a Greek word and more high-sounding.

  • And clapping the amphora to his lips, he drained it at one draught.

British Dictionary definitions for amphora


noun plural -phorae (-fəˌriː) or -phoras

an ancient Greek or Roman two-handled narrow-necked jar for oil, wine, etc

Word Origin for amphora

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

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