"inhabitants of torrid zones," in ancient geography, 1620s, from Medieval Latin Amphiscii, from Greek amphiskioi "inhabitants of the tropics," literally "throwing a shadow both ways," from amphi "on both sides" (from PIE root *ambhi- "around") + skia "shadow, shade" (see Ascians). So called because they are "people whose shadow is sometimes to the North, and sometimes to the South" [Cockerham, 1623] depending on the sun being below or above the equator. Compare Ascians.
updated on September 20, 2022
Dictionary entries near Amphiscians