A horsewoman, a fighting or masculine woman. The word means
without breast, or rather, “deprived of a pap.” According to
Grecian story, there was a nation of women in Africa of a very warlike
character. There were no men in the nation; and if a boy was born, it
was either killed or sent to his father, who lived in some neighbouring
state. The girls had their right breasts burnt off, that they might the
better draw the bow.
“These dreadful Amazons, gallant viragoes who ... carried victorious
arms ... into Syria and Asia Minor.” —J. E. Chambliss: David
Livingstone (Introduction, p. 24).
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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