Definition of mortify
1 obsolete : to destroy the strength, vitality, or functioning of
2 : to subdue or deaden (the body, bodily appetites, etc.) 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
Recent Examples of mortify from the Web
Timbaland (2006) As mortifying the lyrics of this song can be, Nelly Furtado is as good, if not better, of a rapper as Iggy Azalea, and her Timbaland duet is bizarrely enjoyable. 13.
They’d be mortified, but also kind of still drunk enough to be giggly.
The mere image of Will Ferrell in a state of mortifying public tumescence was enough to send my son into spasms of uncontrollable laughter.
I was mortified by her insensitivity, and told her so.
But when Mr. Obama and the rest of his entourage rose to do the wave, Sasha stayed seated, her arm over her face as if mortified.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'mortify'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
The Deadly History of mortify
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 centurySee Words from the same year
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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