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a member of a Nahuatl-speaking state in central Mexico that was conquered by Cortés in 1521.
Also called classical Nahuatl. the variety of Nahuatl that served as the medium of Aztec civilization, aboriginally written in a chiefly pictographic script.
Compare Nahuatl (def 2).
the Nahuatl language.
Contemporary Examples

Before the 16thcentury, Spanish conquest, the aztecs saw the skull as a symbol of rebirth.
New Orleans’ Carnivalesque Day of the Dead Jason Berry October 31, 2014

Historical Examples

Anciently, it had been to Europe what cotton was to the Mexico of the aztecs.
The Iron Ration George Abel Schreiner

Did they resemble the aztecs in these respects or the West Indians?
Introductory American History Henry Eldridge Bourne

They know nothing of their kinship with the aztecs but believe that they originated in Southern California.
Picturesque Pala George Wharton James

One day the aztecs discovered that some of the Spaniards had died.
Discoverers and Explorers Edward R. Shaw

The aztecs held pipes and flutes in great respect, and they were played at all religious ceremonies.
Chatterbox, 1906 Various

After furious fighting Guatemotzin was captured, and the aztecs surrendered.
Discoverers and Explorers Edward R. Shaw

The special aim of this work is to deny utterly the civilization of the aztecs.
Ancient America, in Notes on American Archaeology John D. Baldwin

They were from a feudalistic world and tried to portray the aztecs in such terms.
Adaptation Dallas McCord Reynolds

Thus disappeared, as suddenly as it had risen, the phantom of a second Empire in the realm of the aztecs.
Mexico Susan Hale

a member of a Mexican Indian people who established a great empire, centred on the valley of Mexico, that was overthrown by Cortés and his followers in the early 16th century
the language of the Aztecs See also Nahuatl
of, relating to, or characteristic of the Aztecs, their civilization, or their language

1787, from Spanish Azteca, from Nahuatl aztecatl (plural aztecah), meaning “coming from Aztlan,” name of their legendary place of origin, usually said to lie somewhere in what is now southwestern U.S.

A Native American people who ruled Mexico and neighboring areas before the Spaniards conquered the region in the sixteenth century. Starting in the twelfth century, they built up an advanced civilization and empire. (See Hernando Cortés and Montezuma.)


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