am·​a·​zon ˈa-mə-ˌzän How to pronounce amazon (audio)
capitalized : a member of a race of female warriors of Greek mythology
often capitalized : a tall strong often masculine woman
often capitalized : any of a genus (Amazona) of tropical American parrots typically having green plumage marked with other bright colors

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In Greek mythology, an Amazon was a member of a race of women warriors. One of the famous labors of Heracles (Hercules) was to obtain the sash of the Amazon queen Hippolyta, and the hero Theseus married Hippolyta's sister. The Amazon River got its name when, in 1542, the first Europeans to descend the river were attacked by Indian warriors who, even at close range, they believed to be women. The mystery of these warriors continues to this day. However impressive a figure they cut, though, not every tall and strong woman today would take it as a compliment to be called an amazon.

Examples of amazon in a Sentence

I felt dwarfed, standing beside this redheaded amazon.

Word History


Middle English Amazones, plural, borrowed from Latin Amazōn, borrowed from Greek Amázōn, of uncertain origin

Note: The name was popularly explained by ancient authors as deriving from the negating prefix a- a- entry 2 and mazós "breast," from the belief that the Amazons removed their right breast to be better able to draw a bow.

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of amazon was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near amazon

Cite this Entry

“Amazon.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


am·​a·​zon ˈam-ə-ˌzän How to pronounce amazon (audio)
capitalized : a member of a race of female warriors of ancient Greek mythology
often capitalized : a tall strong woman

Geographical Definition


geographical name

Am·​a·​zon ˈa-mə-ˌzän How to pronounce Amazon (audio)
river 4000 miles (6400 kilometers) long in northern South America flowing from the Peruvian Andes into the Atlantic in northern Brazil

Note: By volume, the Amazon is the largest river in the world. In length, the Amazon is the longest river in South America.

see ucayali, solimões
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