mortality

noun

mor·​tal·​i·​ty mȯr-ˈta-lə-tē How to pronounce mortality (audio)
1
: the quality or state of being mortal
Her husband's death reminded her of her own mortality.
2
: the death of large numbers (as of people or animals)
trying to reduce infant mortality
3
archaic : death
4
: the human race
that natural extinction to which all mortality is subjectThomas Paine
5
a
: the number of deaths in a population during a given time or place : the proportion of deaths to population : mortality rate
The mortality among the infected mounted daily.
b
: the number lost or the rate of loss or failure
the mortality rate of small businesses

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Thoughts on Mortality

Young people tend to assume they will never die, but a person's sense of his or her mortality generally increases year by year, and often increases greatly after a serious accident or illness. Still, many people refuse to change behaviors that would improve their chances of living into old age. Mortality rates are calculated by government agencies, insurance companies, and medical researchers. Infant mortality rates (the rate at which infants die in childbirth) provide a good indicator of a country's overall health; in recent years, the rates in countries like Iceland, Singapore, and Japan have been much better than in the U.S.

Example Sentences

a leading cause of mortality
Recent Examples on the Web Thinking about our own mortality is difficult, to be sure. Danielle Seurkamp, Forbes, 24 Jan. 2023 That restlessness relates in part to her own mortality. Sarah Scoles, Scientific American, 13 Jan. 2023 Today, after having faced her own mortality, Blair feels like a different version of herself. Emma Carmichael, SELF, 10 Jan. 2023 But instead of giving us more of the same, director Joel Crawford and co-director Januel Mercado give us a tale about a cat contemplating his mortality. Borys Kit, The Hollywood Reporter, 31 Dec. 2022 His lessons in humility remind us that the pursuit of success is often motivated by the dread of failure — and that our attempts to create things are often driven by an avoidance of our mortality. Michael S. Roth, Washington Post, 28 Dec. 2022 The push to finally start the project came from a tragic reminder of his own mortality in 2015. Joshua Berlinger, CNN, 25 Dec. 2022 Pearl discussed how Leach’s death forces him to face his mortality. al, 13 Dec. 2022 At the time of his speech, Johnson was conscious of his own mortality and knew his presidential legacy, shrouded at the time by the Vietnam War, was still in the balance. Time, 12 Dec. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'mortality.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of mortality was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near mortality

Cite this Entry

“Mortality.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mortality. Accessed 7 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition

mortality

noun
mor·​tal·​i·​ty mȯr-ˈtal-ət-ē How to pronounce mortality (audio)
plural mortalities
1
: the quality or state of being mortal
2
: the death of large numbers (as of animals or people)
3
a
: the number of deaths in a given time or place
b
: the ratio of deaths occurring in a certain time in a given population to the number of individuals in the population

Medical Definition

mortality

noun
mor·​tal·​i·​ty mȯr-ˈtal-ət-ē How to pronounce mortality (audio)
plural mortalities
1
: the quality or state of being mortal
2
: the number of deaths in a population during a given time or place : the proportion of deaths to population : mortality rate compare morbidity sense 2
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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