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AM-PHIS'BEN, or AM-PHIS'BE-NA, n. [Gr. αμφισβαινα, of αμφις and βαινω, to go; indicating that the animal moves with either end foremost.]

A genus of serpents, with the head small, smooth and blunt; the nostrils small, the eyes minute and blackish, and the mouth furnished with small teeth. The body is cylindrical, destitute of scales, and divided into numerous annular segments; the tail obtuse, and scarcely to be distinguished from the head, whence the belief that it moved equally well with either end foremost. There are two species; the fuliginosa, black with white spots, found in Africa and America; and the alba, or white species, found in both the Indies, and generally in ant-hillocks. They feed on ants and earth-worms, and were formerly deemed poisonous; but this opinion is exploded. – Plin. 8. 23. Encyc. Cyc. The aquatic amphisben, Gordius aquaticus, Linn., is an animal resembling a horse-hair, found in water, and moving with either end foremost. The vulgar opinion that this is an animated horse-hair is found to be an error. This hair-worm is generated in the common black beetle, in which the parent worm lays its eggs; and is sometimes found in the earth and on the leaves of trees. – Lister, Phil. Trans. No. 83.

AM-PHIS'CI-I, or AM-PHIS'CIANS, a. [Gr. αμφι, on both sides, and σκια, shadow.]

In geography, the inhabitants of the tropics, whose shadows, in one part of the year, are cast to the north, and in the other, to the south, according as the sun is in the southern or northern signs.


A name given by ancient naturalists to a fossil, called by Dr. Hill Pyricubium. Pliny describes it as of a square figure and a gold color. Qu. Cubic pyrites. – Pliny, 37. 10. Encyc.

AM-PHI-THE'A-TER, n. [Gr. αμφιθεατρον, of αμφι, about, and θεατρον, theater, from θεαομαι, to see or look.]

  1. An edifice in an oval or circular form, having its area encompassed with rows of seats, rising higher as they recede from the area, on which people used to sit to view the combats of gladiators and of wild beasts, and other sports. The ancient theater was a semicircle, but exceeding it by a fourth part of its diameter; the amphitheater was a double theater, and its longest diameter was to its shortest as 1 ½ to 1. It was at first of wood, but in the reign of Augustus one was erected of stone. The area or cavea being covered with sand was called arena. – Kennet.
  2. In gardening, a disposition of shrubs and trees in the form of an amphitheater, on a slope, or forming a slope, by placing the lowest in front. An amphitheater may also ho formed of turf only. – Encyc.


Resembling an amphitheater. – Tooke.


Pertaining to or exhibited in an ampitheater. – Warton.

AM'PHI-TRITE, n. [Gr. αμφιτριτη, a goddess of the sea.]

A genus of marine animals, of the Linnæan order Mollusca.


A crystalline mineral. See Scapolite.

AM'PHOR, or AM'PHO-RA, n. [L. amphora; Gr. αμφορευς or αμφιφορευς; αμφι and φορεω.]

Among the Greeks and Romans, a liquid measure. The amphora of the Romans contained about forty-eight sextaries, equal to seven gallons and a pint, English wine measure. The Grecian or Attic amphor contained about a third more. This was also, among the Romans, a dry measure of about three bushels. Among the Venetians, it is a liquid measure of sixteen quarts. This name was formerly used in England; but the capacity of the Sax. ambra is not certainly known. – LL. Inæ. Cap. 70. Wilkins, Pref. LL. Æthelstan. Spelman. Encyc.

AM'PLE, a. [Fr. ample; L. amplus.]

  1. Large; wide; spacious; extended; as, ample room. This word carries with it the sense of room or space fully sufficient for the use intended.
  2. Great in bulk, or size; as, an ample tear. – Shak.
  3. Liberal; unrestrained; without parsimony; fully sufficient; as, ample provision for the table; ample justice.
  4. Liberal; magnificent; as, ample promises.
  5. Diffusive; not brief or contracted; as, an ample narrative.


Largeness; spaciousness; sufficiency; abundance.

AM'PLEST, a. [superl.]

Most ample or extended.

AM-PLEX'I-CAUL, a. [L. amplexor, to embrace, of amb, about, and plico, plexus, to fold, and caulis, καυλος, a stem.]

In botany, nearly surrounding or embracing the stem, as the base of a leaf.

AM'PLI-ATE, v.t. [L. amplio. See Ample.]

To enlarge; to make greater; to extend. [Little used.]


  1. Enlargement; amplification; diffuseness. [Little used.]
  2. In Roman antiquity, a deferring to pass sentence; a postponement of a decision, to obtain further evidence. – Encyc.

AM-PLIF'I-CATE, v.t. [L. amplifico.]

To enlarge; to amplify.

AM-PLI-FI-CA'TION, n. [L. amplificatio.]

  1. Enlargement; extension.
  2. In rhetoric, diffusive description or discussion; exaggerated representation; copious argument, intended to present the subject in every view, or in the strongest light; diffuse narrative, or a dilating upon all the particulars of a subject; a description given in more words than are necessary, or as illustration by various examples and proofs.


Enlarged; extended; diffusively treated.


One who amplifies or enlarges; one who treats a subject diffusively, to exhibit it in the strongest light. – Sidney.

AM'PLI-FY, v.i.

  1. To speak largely or copiously; to be diffuse in argument or description; to dilate upon; often followed by on; as, to amplify on the several topics of discourse. – Watts.
  2. To exaggerate; to enlarge by representation or description; as, Homer amplifies – not invents. – Pope.

AM'PLI-FY, v.t. [Fr. amplifier; L. amplifico; of amplus and facio, to make large.]

  1. To enlarge; to augment; to increase or extend, in a general sense; applied to material or immaterial things.
  2. In rhetoric, to enlarge in discussion or by representation; to treat copiously, so as to present the subject in every view, and in the strongest lights.
  3. To enlarge by addition; to improve or extend; as, to amplify the sense of an author by a paraphrase.


Enlarging; exaggerating; diffusively treating.

AM'PLI-TUDE, n. [L. amplitudo, from amplus, large.]

  1. Largeness; extent, applied to bodies; as, the amplitude of the earth.
  2. Largeness; extent of capacity or intellectual powers; as, amplitude of mind.
  3. Extent of means or power; abundance; sufficiency. – Watts. Amplitude, in astronomy, is an arch of the horizon intercepted between the east and west point, and the center of the sun or star at its rising or setting. At the rising of a star, the amplitude is eastern or ortive; at the setting it is western, occiduous, or occasive. It is also northern or southern, when north or south of the equator. – Johnson. Encyc. Amplitude of the range, in projectiles, is the horizontal line subtending the path of a body thrown, or the line which measures the distance it has moved. – Johnson. Chambers. Magnetical amplitude, is the arch of the horizon between the sun or a star, at rising or setting, and the east or west point of the horizon, by the compass. The difference between this and the true amplitude is the variation of the compass. – Encyc.

AM'PLY, adv.

Largely; liberally: fully; sufficiently; copiously; in a diffusive manner.


Like a bottle or inflated bladder; swelling. – Kirby.