ἀμάω + ἄγω
English translation (word)
wagon, four-wheeled carriage
amaō + agō
English translation (etymon)
to reap + to lead
Lexicon, alpha 1115
C. Theodoridis, Photii patriarchae lexicon (Α—Δ), vol. 1, Berlin: De Gruyter, 1982
Ἅμαξα· ἡ ναῦς παρὰ τοῖς Ἀττικοῖς. καὶ ἴσως εἰκάζουσιν αὐτὴν ἁμάξῃ ἀπὸ τοῦ ἀμᾶν τὴν θάλασσαν
Hamaxa "wagon": he ship, in Attic; maybe they compare it to the wagon because it reaps (amân) the sea
Eustathius, Comm. Il. 4, 595 Van der Valk (Καὶ ὅρα ὅτι ψιλοῦσθαι ὁ ποιητὴς τὴν ἄμαξαν βούλεται, ὡς δηλοῖ τὸ «κατ’ ἀμαξιτόν». τὸ δ’ αὐτὸ καὶ ἀπὸ τοῦ κατημαξευμένου φαίνεται. γίνεται γάρ, φασίν, ἄμαξα παρὰ τὸ ἄγειν τὰ ἀμώμενα, ἤτοι θεριζόμενα. οἱ δὲ δασύνοντες ἀπὸ τοῦ ἅμα καὶ τοῦ ἄξονος αὐτὴν συντιθέασιν.)
Copulative compound. The second element is best analyzed as the old name of the wheel axle (Lat. axis, Gr. ἄξων), despite Beekes' skepticism, that is, the four-wheeled wagon is that which has "axles together".
Persistence in Modern Greek
MG still has άμαξα designating 'wheeled vehicle/carriage usually guided by horses to transfer people'. The ancient form survives in the phrases "ο τελευταίος τροχός της αμάξης" ("the least important") and "τα εξ αμάξης" ("many swears/accusations").
Photius gives only the first part of the etymology, which is is fully explicit in Eustathius (see Parallels). Ἅμαξα is etymologized as a compound of ἄγω, as in the usual explanation, but the first element is supposed to be a form of ἀμάω "to reap". Since the ἅμαξα was indeed used for the transportation of the crop, this explanation relies on the association of ideas and provides a functional etymology. As Eustathius makes clear, this etymology implies that ἄμαξα be written without a rough breathing.