• synonyms


noun, plural am·pho·rae [am-fuh-ree] /ˈæm fəˌri/, am·pho·ras. Greek and Roman Antiquity.
  1. 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.
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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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for amphorae

urn, ornament, vase

Examples from the Web for amphorae

Historical Examples of amphorae

  • A great number of amphorae were found in it, as also in both peristyles.

    Pompeii, Its Life and Art

    August Mau

  • Fruits and other edibles of all kinds were kept in amphorae.

  • The amphorae which you hid in the mound are probably—I can't say for certain, mind—priceless.

  • The amphorae were sometimes marked with the name of the wine, and the names of the consuls for the year in which they were filled.

    The Private Life of the Romans

    Harold Whetstone Johnston

  • Her vases and amphorae have been frequently exhibited and are praised by connoisseurs and critics.

British Dictionary definitions for amphorae


noun plural -phorae (-fəˌriː) or -phoras
  1. an ancient Greek or Roman two-handled narrow-necked jar for oil, wine, etc
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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 amphorae



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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper