[ mawr-ter ]
See synonyms for: mortarmortaredmortaring on

  1. a receptacle of hard material, having a bowl-shaped cavity in which substances are reduced to powder with a pestle.

  2. any of various mechanical appliances in which substances are pounded or ground.

  1. a cannon very short in proportion to its bore, for throwing shells at high angles.

  2. some similar contrivance, as for throwing pyrotechnic bombs or a lifeline.

verb (used with or without object)
  1. to attack with mortar fire or shells.

Origin of mortar

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

Words Nearby mortar

Other definitions for mortar (2 of 2)

[ mawr-ter ]

  1. a mixture of lime or cement or a combination of both with sand and water, used as a bonding agent between bricks, stones, etc.

  2. any of various materials or compounds for bonding together bricks, stones, etc.: Bitumen was used as a mortar.

verb (used with object)
  1. to plaster or fix with mortar.

Origin of mortar

1250–1300; Middle English morter<Anglo-French; Old French mortiermortar1, hence the mixture produced in it

Other words from mortar

  • mor·tar·less, adjective
  • mor·tar·y, adjective

Words that may be confused with mortar Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use mortar in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for mortar


/ (ˈmɔːtə) /

  1. 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

  2. a muzzle-loading cannon having a short barrel and relatively wide bore that fires low-velocity shells in high trajectories over a short range

  1. a similar device for firing lifelines, fireworks, etc

  2. a vessel, usually bowl-shaped, in which substances are pulverized with a pestle

  3. mining a cast-iron receptacle in which ore is crushed

  1. to join (bricks or stones) or cover (a wall) with mortar

  2. to fire on with mortars

  1. Midland English dialect to trample (on)

Origin of mortar

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with mortar


see bricks and mortar.

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