am·​pho·​ra ˈam(p)-fə-rə How to pronounce amphora (audio)
plural amphorae ˈam(p)-fə-ˌrē How to pronounce amphora (audio)
or amphoras
: an ancient Greek jar or vase with a large oval body, narrow cylindrical neck, and two handles that rise almost to the level of the mouth
broadly : such a jar or vase used elsewhere in the ancient world
: a 2-handled vessel shaped like an amphora

Illustration of amphora

Illustration of amphora
  • amphora 1

Examples of amphora in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web His Numen Fume Blanc is made from grapes grown on old Sauvignon Blanc vines and is fermented and stored on the lees in amphoras which contributes to the medium straw color. Mike Desimone and Jeff Jenssen, Robb Report, 9 May 2024 Objects including drinking vessels, terra sigillata flasks, an amphora and a stone anchor from the Archaic period originating from Spain, Italy, Africa and Asia Minor were all found in the wreckage. Charlotte Phillipp, Peoplemag, 25 Apr. 2024 Under glass beneath our feet were the foundations of a villa from the fourth century B.C. complete with floor mosaics and softly lit domestic water tanks and amphoras. Tony Perrottet, Smithsonian Magazine, 27 Mar. 2024 Fossils of Rare Mammal Relatives from 180 Million Years Ago Found in Utah Among the objects were drinking vessels, terra sigillata flasks from Africa, an amphora and a stone anchor from the Archaic period, per the reports. Abigail Adams, Peoplemag, 15 Mar. 2024 For example, millions of ancient vessels called amphoras were found in a mountainous pile at Monte Testaccio in Rome. Sean Mowbray, Discover Magazine, 29 Feb. 2024 Along with these riches, the site also revealed evidence of funerary rituals: Researchers found a Roman jar called an amphora that probably held wine to be consumed by funeral attendees. Sonja Anderson, Smithsonian Magazine, 22 Feb. 2024 Dinner was served next to a reflecting pool, on long tables adorned with more food sculptures designed by Caro Diario—loaves of bread shaped like amphora jars and devils (baked by Maxwell Leonard of Ferndale, Michigan), spheres of butter, and domes made of olives. Jocelyn Silver, Vogue, 12 Dec. 2023 The museum will return both the fish plate and the amphora to the Italian government, with an official ceremony to come at a later date, per ANU’s statement. Teresa Nowakowski, Smithsonian Magazine, 20 Sep. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'amphora.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


borrowed from Latin, adaptation (with gender and suffix change) of Greek amphoreús, by haplology from amphiphoreús, from amphi- amphi- + phoreús "bearer, carrier," from phor- (stem in nominal derivation of phérein "to carry") + -eus, instrument suffix — more at bear entry 2

Note: The form amphiphoreús occurs in Homeric epics, but most likely only for metrical reasons. According to P. Chantraine (Dictionnaire étymologique de la langue grecque), Mycenaean documents have evidence for both amphiphoreús and amphoreús.

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near amphora

Cite this Entry

“Amphora.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


am·​pho·​ra ˈam(p)-fə-rə How to pronounce amphora (audio)
plural amphorae -fə-ˌrē How to pronounce amphora (audio)
or amphoras
: an ancient Greek jar or vase with two handles
also : such a jar or vase used elsewhere in the ancient world

More from Merriam-Webster on amphora

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