• (British) IPA: /ˈmɔːtɪfaɪ/
  • (America) IPA: /ˈmɔɹtɪfaɪ/


  1. (transitive) 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.
    • With fasting mortified, worn out with tears.
    • 1688, Matthew Prior, An Ode
      Mortify thy learned lust.
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, […] (King James Version), imprinted at London: By Robert Barker, […], OCLC 964384981 ↗, Colossians 3:5 ↗:
      Mortify, therefore, your members which are upon the earth.
  2. (transitive, usually, used passively) To embarrass, to humiliate. To injure one's dignity. [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.
  3. (obsolete, transitive) To kill. [14th–17th c.]
  4. (obsolete, transitive) To reduce the potency of; to nullify; to deaden, neutralize. [14th–18th c.]
    • 1626, Francis Bacon, Sylva Sylvarum, Or, A Naturall Historie: In Ten Centuries
      Quicksilver is mortified with turpentine.
    • He mortified pearls in vinegar.
  5. (obsolete, transitive) To kill off (living tissue etc.); to make necrotic. [15th–18th c.]
    • 1603, Michel de Montaigne, chapter 3, in John Florio, transl., The Essayes, […], book II, printed at London: By Val[entine] Simmes for Edward Blount […], OCLC 946730821 ↗:
      Servius the Grammarian being troubled with the gowt, found no better meanes to be rid of it, than to apply poison to mortifie {{transterm
  6. (obsolete, transitive) To affect with vexation, chagrin, or humiliation; to humble; to depress.
    • 22 September 1651 (date in diary), 1818 (first published), John Evelyn, John Evelyn's Diary
      the news of the fatal battle of Worcester, which exceedingly mortified our expectations
    • How 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. (transitive, 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
  8. (intransitive) To lose vitality.
  9. (intransitive) To gangrene.
  10. (intransitive) To be subdued.
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