Definition of mortify
1 obsolete : to destroy the strength, vitality, or functioning of
2 : to subdue or deaden (as the body or bodily appetites) especially by abstinence or self-inflicted pain or discomfort <mortified his body for spiritual purification>
3 : to subject to severe and vexing embarrassment : shame <was no longer mortified by comparisons between her sisters' beauty and her own — Jane Austen>
1 : to practice mortification
2 : to become necrotic or gangrenous <treated his wound so that it would not mortify>
Examples of mortify in a sentence
It mortified me to have to admit that I'd never actually read the book.
<was mortified by her children's atrocious manners>
Did You Know?
Mortify once actually meant "put to death", but no longer. Its "deaden" sense is most familiar to us in the phrase "mortifying the flesh", which refers to a custom once followed by devout Christians, who would starve themselves, deprive themselves of every comfort, and even whip themselves in order to subdue their bodily desires and punish themselves for their sins. But the most common use of mortify today is the "humiliate" sense; its connection with death is still apparent when we speak of "dying of embarrassment".
Origin and Etymology of mortify
Middle English mortifien, from Anglo-French mortifier, from Late Latin mortificare, from Latin mort-, mors
First Known Use: 14th century
MORTIFY Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of mortify for English Language Learners
: to cause (someone) to feel very embarrassed and foolish
MORTIFY Defined for Kids
Definition of mortify for Students
: to embarrass greatly <I ought to have read more, for I find I don't know anything, and it mortifies me. — Louisa May Alcott, Little Women>
Medical Definition of mortify
: to become necrotic or gangrenous
Seen and Heard
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