am·​or·​tize ˈa-mər-ˌtīz How to pronounce amortize (audio)
 also  ə-ˈmȯr-
amortized; amortizing

transitive verb

: to pay off (an obligation, such as a mortgage) gradually usually by periodic payments of principal and interest or by payments to a sinking fund
amortize a loan
: to gradually reduce or write off the cost or value of (something, such as an asset)
amortize goodwill
amortize machinery
ˈa-mər-ˌtī-zə-bəl How to pronounce amortize (audio)
 also  ə-ˈmȯr-

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When you amortize a loan, you "kill it off" gradually by paying it down in installments. This is reflected in the word's etymology. Amortize derives via Middle English and Anglo-French from Vulgar Latin admortire, meaning "to kill." The Latin noun mors ("death") is a root of admortire; it is related to our word murder, and it also gave us a word naming a kind of loan that is usually amortized: mortgage. Amortize carries a different meaning in the field of corporate finance, where it means to depreciate the cost or value of an asset (as, for example, to reduce interest revenue on that asset for tax purposes).

Examples of amortize in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Term Loan Interest Deduction Those who have financed a CRE investment not with a traditional amortizing mortgage, but with a term loan, can also deduct the interest payments on the loan. Paul Daneshrad, Forbes, 30 Nov. 2023 In other words, making the show isn’t cheap — but committing to lots of episodes up front allows producers (and thus Peacock) the opportunity to amortize those costs over a longer period, making the whole endeavor more affordable, especially the longer the show runs. Vulture, 16 Nov. 2023 That's great when amortized compared to other methods but the upfront cost may simply be out of reach for too many lower income people. Kayla Bartsch, National Review, 5 Nov. 2023 But under a provision of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that took effect last year, costs associated with R&D must now be amortized over many years: five for those within domestic borders and 15 for those overseas. Mark Maurer, WSJ, 10 Nov. 2023 But under a provision of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that took effect last year, costs associated with R&D activities must now be amortized over many years, five for ones within domestic borders and 15 for those incurred overseas. Jennifer Williams-Alvarez, WSJ, 24 Oct. 2023 But longer-run series were also a lot more efficient and still are today: Per-episode budgets go way down when a show’s season stretches 16 episodes instead of 8 and the costs of production (sets, actors, wardrobe) can be amortized over a much longer period. Vulture, 3 Aug. 2023 There’s still overhead, Dally said, but with complex instructions, it’s amortized over more math. IEEE Spectrum, 7 Sep. 2023 But the exhibits can operate with minuscule staff and development costs can amortize to nothing the longer a tour goes on. Curbed, 5 Apr. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'amortize.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English amortisen to kill, alienate in mortmain, from Anglo-French amorteser, alteration of amortir, from Vulgar Latin *admortire to kill, from Latin ad- + mort-, mors death — more at murder

First Known Use

1830, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of amortize was in 1830


Dictionary Entries Near amortize

Cite this Entry

“Amortize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Feb. 2024.

Legal Definition


transitive verb
amortized; amortizing
: to reduce (an amount) gradually: as
: to pay off (as a loan) gradually usually by periodic payments of principal and interest or payments to a sinking fund
: to gradually reduce the cost of (as an asset) especially for tax purposes by making periodic charges to income over a time span
amortize the machinery over five years
see also depreciation compare capitalize, deduct
amortizable adjective

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