a human being.
the condition of being subject to death.

Origin of mortal

1325–75; Middle English < Latin mortālis, equivalent to mort- (stem of mors) death + -ālis -al1
Related formsmor·tal·ly, adverbnon·mor·tal, adjective, nounnon·mor·tal·ly, adverbpost·mor·tal, adjectivepost·mor·tal·ly, adverbpre·mor·tal, adjectivepre·mor·tal·ly, adverbun·mor·tal, adjective

Synonyms for mortal

6. See fatal. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for mortal

Contemporary Examples of mortal

Historical Examples of mortal

British Dictionary definitions for mortal



(of living beings, esp human beings) subject to death
of or involving life or the world
ending in or causing death; fatala mortal blow
deadly or unrelentinga mortal enemy
of or like the fear of death; diremortal terror
great or very intensemortal pain
possiblethere was no mortal reason to go
slang long and tediousfor three mortal hours


a mortal being
informal a persona mean mortal
Derived Formsmortally, adverb

Word Origin for mortal

C14: from Latin mortālis, from mors death
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

Word Origin and History for mortal

mid-14c., "deadly," also "doomed to die," from Old French mortel "destined to die; deserving of death," from Latin mortalis "subject to death, mortal, of a mortal, human," from mors (genitive mortis) "death," from PIE base *mer- "to die," with derivatives referring to death and human beings" (cf. Sanskrit mrtih "death," martah "mortal man;" Avestan miryeite "dies," Old Persian martiya- "man;" Armenian meranim "die;" Latin mori "to die;" Lithuanian mirtis "mortal man;" Greek brotos "mortal" (hence ambrotos "immortal"); Old Church Slavonic mrutvu "dead;" Old Irish marb, Welsh marw "died;" Old English morþ "murder"). The most widespread Indo-European root for "to die," forming the common word for it except in Greek and Germanic. Watkins says it is "possibly" the same as PIE *mer- "rub, pound, wear away" (see morbid).


"mortal thing or substance," 1520s, from mortal (adj.). Latin mortalis also was used as a noun, "a man, mortal, human being."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

mortal in Medicine




Liable or subject to death.
Causing death; fatal.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.