mor·​ti·​fi·​ca·​tion | \ ˌmȯr-tə-fə-ˈkā-shən How to pronounce mortification (audio) \

Definition of mortification

1a : a sense of humiliation and shame caused by something that wounds one's pride or self-respect the mortification of being jilted by a little boarding-school girl— Washington Irving
b : the cause of such humiliation or shame
3 : the subjection and denial of bodily passions and appetites by abstinence or self-inflicted pain or discomfort was customary to practice mortification during Lent

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Examples of mortification in a Sentence

the mortification of being dumped the night before the prom
Recent Examples on the Web For my colleague Sophie Gilbert, the author’s depiction of mortification stood out the most. Kate Cray, The Atlantic, "The Books Briefing: Beverly Cleary Saw Kids as They Are," 2 Apr. 2021 No one except a flagellant likes bad news, and trustees aren’t known for self-mortification with whips, chains, and tail pipes. Brian T. Allen, National Review, "Cancel Culture Tries a Hit ’n’ Run at a Detroit Museum Director," 27 Mar. 2021 Mark grips his mouth as his eyes fill with mortification. Sofie Birkin, Marie Claire, "Playing Kerri Strug," 9 Feb. 2021 Ward represents the unapologetically paranoid and conspiracy-minded wing of the party, to the occasional mortification of the old-line Phoenix business and philanthropic establishment that provides the bulk of funding for most state races. Tom Zoellner, The New Republic, "Trumpism Ate Martha McSally’s Brain," 12 Oct. 2020 Chalamet and Depp have since broken up, but the plague of paparazzi-induced mortification for the actor hasn't stopped. Chelsey Sanchez, Harper's BAZAAR, "Timothée Chalamet Was "Embarrassed" by Those Pap Pics of Him and Lily-Rose Depp," 15 Oct. 2020 At a time when the daily news cycle reliably delivers a fresh source of mortification for most Americans, some moments of shame are stinging and acute. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "The Electoral College Is an American Humiliation," 8 July 2020 Placating the goddesses through blood sacrifice, decorative offerings and self mortification, was – and in some places, still is – a way of preparing for a pandemic in parts of India. Tulasi Srinivas, The Conversation, "India’s goddesses of contagion provide protection in the pandemic – just don’t make them angry," 15 June 2020 Liam, 29-year-old Rob learns to her mortification, is fresh out of high school and roughly 19 years old. Ariana Romero,, "Is High Fidelity’s Scottish Dreamboat Really As Young As You Think?," 14 Feb. 2020

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

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First Known Use of mortification

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

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Time Traveler for mortification

Time Traveler

The first known use of mortification was in the 14th century

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Statistics for mortification

Last Updated

13 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Mortification.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for mortification


mor·​ti·​fi·​ca·​tion | \ ˌmȯrt-ə-fə-ˈkā-shən How to pronounce mortification (audio) \

Medical Definition of mortification

: local death of tissue in the animal body : necrosis, gangrene

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