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[mawr-ter] /ˈmɔr tər/
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.
verb (used with or without object)
to attack with mortar fire or shells.
Origin of mortar1
before 1000; Middle English, Old English mortere and Old French mortier < Latin mortārium; (defs 3, 4) translation of French mortier < Latin, as above; see -ar2


[mawr-ter] /ˈmɔr tər/
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.
verb (used with object)
to plaster or fix with mortar.
1250-1300; Middle English morter < Anglo-French; Old French mortier mortar1, hence the mixture produced in it
Related forms
mortarless, adjective
mortary, adjective
Can be confused
cement, concrete, mortar. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for mortared
Historical Examples
  • I am putting up the money for it, and I have got to be mortared up in it when I die.

    A Book of Burlesques

    H. L. Mencken
  • He set the stones in their places and mortared them together.

    The Children of Odin Padraic Colum
  • In one corner is a mortared pit about thirty inches deep and two feet in diameter.

    Vistas in Sicily Arthur Stanley Riggs
  • For the first twenty-five neither window nor grating broke the grim uniformity of those mighty walls of mortared rock.

    Joan of the Sword Hand S(amuel) R(utherford) Crockett
  • And I'm to consider myself squashed—abso-bally-lutely pestle and mortared?


    M. Leonora Eyles
  • The dim light scarcely served as an aid, so ingeniously had the door been painted in resemblance to the mortared stone.

    My Lady of Doubt Randall Parrish
  • From within it defied discovery, for nothing confronted my eyes but mortared stone.

    My Lady of Doubt Randall Parrish
  • In many cases the blocks are mortared together, and in nearly all cases layers of cement are alternated with layers of stone.

  • Suddenly I ran against a sort of breastwork of mortared stones, and the shock almost made me faint.

    Jim Davis John Masefield
  • And while he spoke he tied the reins of his garron to a bar of rusty iron that was mortared into the wall.

    The Secret Rose W. B. Yeats
British Dictionary definitions for mortared


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
verb (transitive)
to join (bricks or stones) or cover (a wall) with mortar
to fire on with mortars
(Midland English, dialect) to trample (on)
Word Origin
C13: from Latin mortārium basin in which mortar is mixed; in some senses, via Old French mortier substance mixed inside such a vessel
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for mortared



"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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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mortared in Medicine

mortar mor·tar (môr'tər)

  1. A vessel in which drugs or other substances are crushed or ground with a pestle.

  2. A machine in which materials are ground and blended or crushed.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for mortared


Related Terms

bricks and mortar

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with mortared


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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