early 14c., "two-handled vessel for holding wine, oil, etc.," from Latin amphora from Greek amphoreus "an amphora, jar with two handles, urn," a contraction of amphiphoreus, literally "two-handled," from amphi "on both sides" (see amphi-) + phoreus "bearer," from pherein "to bear" (from PIE root *bher- (1) "to carry").
Decorative amphorae were used as ornaments and given as prizes at some public games. Also a liquid measure in the ancient world, in Greece equal to 9 gallons, in Rome to 6 gallons, 7 pints. Related: Amphoral; amphoric.
updated on September 20, 2022