, Amazon River
   According to the Greek historian Herodotus, the Amazons were a fierce nation of Scythian women who lived by themselves. They dealt with men only in battle or for procreation, and either killed their sons or sent them to their fathers. Their daughters were raised to become warriors. When grown, each woman hacked off her right breast so that it wouldn't hinder her range with the bow. Amazon in Greek is a composite of a- (without) and mazos (breast).
   The Amazons frequently appear in Greek mythology. One of the tasks of Hercules was to obtain the girdle of Hippolyta, queen of the Amazons. He slew her and took her girdle (sash). Another queen of the Amazons, Penthesileia, whose army came to aid the besieged Trojans, was killed in battle by the redoubtable Achilles.
   Legend says that one Vincente Yanez Pinzon, the discoverer of the Amazon River in 1500, named it Rio Santa Maria. But in 1541 Francisco de Orellana, an explorer, after descending from the Andes on this river to the sea, was attacked by a savage tribe. Believing women fought al g- side men, he then renamed the river Amazonas; its name in English, of course, is Amazon. This is an intriguing story; the explorer may have assumed that skirted Indians were women.
   A strong, aggressive woman, especially if she looks masculine, may be called an amazon.

Dictionary of eponyms. . 2013.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Amazon — or Amazons may refer to: * Amazons, members of a legendary nation of female warriors in Greek mythology * more generally, any woman warrior ** History of women in the military ** Dahomey Amazons, an all female regiment of the African kingdom of… …   Wikipedia

  • Amazon — kann sich auf folgende Stichworte beziehen: das Internet Versandhaus den Personenkraftwagen Volvo Amazon englische Übersetzung für Amazone oder Amazonas …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Amazon — Amazon1 [am′ə zän΄, am′əzən] n. [L < Gr Amazōn, of unknown orig., but deriv. by folk etym. < a , without + mazos, breast, hence the story that the Amazons cut off one breast to facilitate archery] 1. Gr. Myth. any of a race of female… …   English World dictionary

  • Amazon — Am a*zon, n. [L., fr. Gr. ?.] 1. One of a fabulous race of female warriors in Scythia; hence, a female warrior. [1913 Webster] 2. A tall, strong, masculine woman; a virago. [1913 Webster] 3. (Zo[ o]l.) A name numerous species of South American… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Amazon — 1.) the Amazon a river in South America, which goes through Peru and Brazil and is the second longest river in the world 2.) literary a strong, tall woman >amazonian adj …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Amazon — late 14c., from Gk. Amazon (mostly in plural Amazones) one of a race of female warriors in Scythia, probably from an unknown non I.E. word, possibly from an Iranian compound *ha maz an (one) fighting together [Watkins], but in folk etymology long …   Etymology dictionary

  • amazon — *virago, termagant …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • Amazon — ► NOUN 1) a member of a legendary race of female warriors. 2) a very tall, strong woman. ORIGIN Greek Amaz n, explained by the Greeks as meaning breastless (as if from a without + mazos breast ), with reference to the fable that the Amazons cut… …   English terms dictionary

  • Amazon — /am euh zon , zeuhn/, n. 1. a river in N South America, flowing E from the Peruvian Andes through N Brazil to the Atlantic Ocean: the largest river in the world in volume of water carried. 3900 mi. (6280 km) long. 2. Class. Myth. one of a race of …   Universalium

  • Amazon — Am·a·zon (ăm’ə zŏn′, zən) ► n. 1) A member of a legendary nation of women warriors reputed to have lived in ancient Scythia. 2) often amazon A tall, aggressive, strong willed woman. 3) often amazon Any of various predominantly green parrots of… …   Word Histories

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