• Mortify


    • UK IPA: /ˈmɔːtɪfaɪ/
    • US IPA: /ˈmɔɹtɪfaɪ/


    From Anglo-Norman mortifier, Middle French mortifier, from Late Latin mortificō ("cause death"), from Latin mors ("death") + -ficō ("-fy").

    Full definition of mortify


    1. (obsolete, transitive) To kill. 14th–17th c.
    2. (obsolete) To reduce the potency of; to nullify; to deaden, neutralize. 14th–18th c.
      • Francis BaconQuicksilver is mortified with turpentine.
      • HakewillHe mortified pearls in vinegar.
    3. (obsolete, transitive) To kill off (living tissue etc.); to make necrotic. 15th–18th c.
      • 1603, John Florio, translating Michel de Montaigne, Essays, II.3:Servius the Grammarian being troubled with the gowt, found no better meanes to be rid of it, than to apply poison to mortifie his legs.
    4. To discipline (one's body, appetites etc.) by suppressing desires; to practise abstinence on. from 15th c.Some people seek sainthood by mortifying the body.
      • HarteWith fasting mortified, worn out with tears.
      • PriorMortify thy learned lust.
      • Bible, Col. iii. 5Mortify, therefore, your members which are upon the earth.
    5. (usually used passively) To embarrass, to humiliate. from 17th c.I was so mortified I could have died right there, instead I fainted, but I swore I'd never let that happen to me again.
      • 1898, Winston Churchill, The Celebrity Chapter 5, Then we relapsed into a discomfited silence, and wished we were anywhere else. But Miss Thorn relieved the situation by laughing aloud, and with such a hearty enjoyment that instead of getting angry and more mortified we began to laugh ourselves, and instantly felt better.
    6. (obsolete) To affect with vexation, chagrin, or humiliation; to humble; to depress.
      • Evelynthe news of the fatal battle of Worcester, which exceedingly mortified our expectations
      • AddisonHow often is the ambitious man mortified with the very praises he receives, if they do not rise so high as he thinks they ought!
    7. (Scotland, legal, historical) To grant in mortmain
      • 1876 James Grant, History of the Burgh and Parish Schools of Scotland, Part II, Chapter 14, p. 453 (PDF 2.7 MB):
      • the schoolmasters of Ayr were paid out of the mills mortified by Queen Mary

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