Definition of mortify
- mortified his body for spiritual purification
- was no longer mortified by comparisons between her sisters' beauty and her own
- —Jane Austen
It mortified me to have to admit that I'd never actually read the book.
was mortified by her children's atrocious manners
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.
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".
First Known Use: 14th centurySee Words from the same year
: to cause (someone) to feel very embarrassed and foolish
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