[ mawr-tuh-fi-key-shuhn ]
See synonyms for mortification on
  1. a feeling of humiliation or shame, as through some injury to one's pride or self-respect.

  2. a cause or source of such humiliation or shame.

  1. the practice of asceticism by penitential discipline to overcome desire for sin and to strengthen the will.

  2. Pathology. the death of one part of the body while the rest is alive; gangrene; necrosis.

Origin of mortification

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English mortificacion, from Late Latin mortificātiōn- (stem of mortificātiō), equivalent to morti- (see mortify) + -ficatiōn--fication

synonym study For mortification

1. See shame.

Other words from mortification

  • pre·mor·ti·fi·ca·tion, noun

Words Nearby mortification Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use mortification in a sentence

  • At a high school basketball game, for example, she will VERY loudly criticize a player, to the mortification of those sitting next to her.

  • “Hey, muffins,” he calls to his children, with a “wince of mortification” at the whole scene.

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  • Bernard sat thinking for a long time; at first with a good deal of mortification—at last with a good deal of bitterness.

    Confidence | Henry James
  • On the other hand, his feet are so cold from the artery being severed that they anticipate mortification.

  • Two years before her death Mrs. Otis was glad to bury her mortification and misery in Rosewater.

    Ancestors | Gertrude Atherton

British Dictionary definitions for mortification


/ (ˌmɔːtɪfɪˈkeɪʃən) /

  1. a feeling of loss of prestige or self-respect; humiliation

  2. something causing this

  1. Christianity the practice of mortifying the senses

  2. another word for gangrene

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