- a receptacle of hard material, having a bowl-shaped cavity in which substances are reduced to powder with a pestle.
- any of various mechanical appliances in which substances are pounded or ground.
- a cannon very short in proportion to its bore, for throwing shells at high angles.
- some similar contrivance, as for throwing pyrotechnic bombs or a lifeline.
- to attack with mortar fire or shells.
Origin of mortar1
- a mixture of lime or cement or a combination of both with sand and water, used as a bonding agent between bricks, stones, etc.
- any of various materials or compounds for bonding together bricks, stones, etc.: Bitumen was used as a mortar.
- to plaster or fix with mortar.
Origin of mortar2
Examples from the Web for mortar
Of such incompatibles is compounded the mortar of his art work.Mailer’s Letters Pack a Punch and a Surprising Degree of Sweetness
Ronald K. Fried
December 14, 2014
Then came the day Mustafa, along with two others, was killed by a mortar shell.Drawing on the Memories of Syrian Women
November 26, 2014
Artillery and mortar duels all around the outskirts of Donetsk rumble angrily every day.Should the U.S. Arm Ukraine’s Militias?
November 24, 2014
When Louise and Bibi returned to their home, they found it strewn with ammunition and pockmarked with mortar craters.‘Argo’ in the Congo: The Ghosts of the Stanleyville Hostage Crisis
November 23, 2014
Holding the architectural smorgasbord of a castle together was cement, wire, and mortar.The Postman Who Built a Palace in France…by Hand
November 20, 2014
These must all be pounded fine in a mortar, and well mixed and sifted.
Pound the veal also in a mortar, adding butter to it by degrees.
Beat them all separately in a mortar, and then mix them well together.
I prefer the philosophy of bricks and mortar to the philosophy of turnips.Alarms and Discursions
G. K. Chesterton
He described them as large cities with houses made of stone and mortar.Introductory American History
Henry Eldridge Bourne
- a mixture of cement or lime or both with sand and water, used as a bond between bricks or stones or as a covering on a wall
- a muzzle-loading cannon having a short barrel and relatively wide bore that fires low-velocity shells in high trajectories over a short range
- a similar device for firing lifelines, fireworks, etc
- a vessel, usually bowl-shaped, in which substances are pulverized with a pestle
- mining a cast-iron receptacle in which ore is crushed
- to join (bricks or stones) or cover (a wall) with mortar
- to fire on with mortars
- Midland English dialect to trample (on)
Word Origin and History for mortar
"mixture of cement," late 13c., from Old French mortier "builder's mortar, plaster; bowl for mixing" (13c.), from Latin mortarium "mortar," also "crushed drugs," probably the same word as mortarium "bowl for mixing or pounding" (see mortar (n.2)). Dutch mortel, German Mörtel are from Latin or French.
"bowl for pounding," c.1300, from Old French mortier "bowl; builder's mortar," from Latin mortarium "bowl for mixing or pounding," also "material prepared in it," of unknown origin and impossible now to determine which sense was original (Watkins says probably from PIE root *mer- "to rub away, harm;" see morbid). Late Old English had mortere, from the same Latin source, which might also be a source of the modern word. German Mörser also is from Latin.
"short cannon," 1550s, originally mortar-piece, from Middle French mortier "short cannon," in Old French, "bowl for mixing or pounding" (see mortar (n.2)). So called for its shape.
- A vessel in which drugs or other substances are crushed or ground with a pestle.
- A machine in which materials are ground and blended or crushed.
Idioms and Phrases with mortar
see bricks and mortar.