[ mawr-tuh-fahy ]
/ 藞m蓴r t蓹藢fa瑟 /
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See synonyms for: mortify / mortified / mortifying on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object), mor路ti路fied, mor路ti路fy路ing.
to humiliate or shame, as by injury to one's pride or self-respect.
to subjugate (the body, passions, etc.) by abstinence, ascetic discipline, or self-inflicted suffering.
Pathology. to affect with gangrene or necrosis.
verb (used without object), mor路ti路fied, mor路ti路fy路ing.
to practice mortification or disciplinary austerities.
Pathology. to undergo mortification; become gangrened or necrosed.
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Origin of mortify

First recorded in 1350鈥1400; Middle English mortifien, from Middle French mortifier, from Late Latin mortific膩re 鈥渢o put to death,鈥 equivalent to Latin morti- (stem of mors ) 鈥渄eath鈥 + -fic膩re -fy

synonym study for mortify

1. See ashamed.


mor路ti路fi路er, nounmor路ti路fy路ing路ly, adverbpre路mor路ti路fy, verb (used with object), pre路mor路ti路fied, pre路mor路ti路fy路ing.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, 漏 Random House, Inc. 2023


What does聽mortify mean?

Mortify means to humiliate or embarrass in an extreme way.

You know when you do something so unbearably embarrassing that you just want to shrivel up and die? That鈥檚 what it鈥檚 like to feel mortified. Which is fitting because the word comes from a root meaning 鈥渄eath.鈥

Things that are humiliating or extremely embarrassing can be described as mortifying. This feeling of humiliation or extreme embarrassment can be called mortification.

Mortify can also be used in a way that relates to literal death. In medical terms, to mortify is to undergo mortification鈥攖he death of one part of the body while the rest of the body is alive. This is more technically called gangrene or necrosis.

Mortify is also used (less commonly) in a religious context, in which it means to聽 practice ascetic self-discipline with the goal of strengthening one鈥檚 will and overcoming the desire to sin. In Christianity, forms of mortification include things like fasting. In some extreme cases, especially in older times, it has included things like self-flagellation鈥攚hipping oneself.

Example: Even when I do my best not to embarrass my kids, I still end up mortifying them on most occasions.

Where does聽mortify come from?

The first records of the word mortify come from the second half of the 1300s. It ultimately comes from the Late Latin verb mortific膩re, meaning 鈥渢o put to death,鈥 from Latin mors, 鈥渄eath,鈥 and the verb facere, 鈥渢o do.鈥澛Mors is the root of many other death-related words, like mortal.

In a literal sense, when a part of the body mortifies, it undergoes tissue death鈥攖he death of a localized area of the body, such as due to a lack of blood supply to that part. This is never a good thing, so you can see why it鈥檚 used as a metaphor for extreme embarrassment鈥攖he kind when you feel like you鈥檒l die from it. Some people are mortified more easily than others. One person might be mortified due to something as simple as accidentally wearing mismatched socks. For most people, though, it comes with more extreme situations, like picking your nose on a video call when you think your video is off.

The most common ways to describe such a feeling is probably with the adjectives mortified (applied to a person) and mortifying (applied to the situation).

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What are some other forms of mortify?

  • mortified (past tense verb, adjective)
  • morifying (continuous tense verb, adjective)
  • mortifiedly (adverb)
  • mortifyingly (adverb)
  • mortification (noun)
  • mortifier (noun)

What are some synonyms for mortify?

What are some words that share a root or word element with mortify?聽


What are some words that often get used in discussing mortify?

How is聽mortify used in real life?

Mortify is most commonly used figuratively in the context of feeling extreme embarrassment, especially in the form of the adjectives mortified and mortifying. It鈥檚 sometimes used in stories about such situations to be self-deprecating.



Try using聽mortify!

Which of the following words is NOT a synonym of mortify?

A. encourage
B. humiliate
C. embarrass
D. abase

How to use mortify in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for mortify

/ (藞m蓴藧t瑟藢fa瑟) /

verb -fies, -fying or -fied
(tr) to humiliate or cause to feel shame
(tr) Christianity to subdue and bring under control by self-denial, disciplinary exercises, etc
(intr) to undergo tissue death or become gangrenous

Derived forms of mortify

mortifier, nounmortifying, adjectivemortifyingly, adverb

Word Origin for mortify

C14: via Old French from Church Latin mortific膩re to put to death, from Latin mors death + facere to do
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition 漏 William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 漏 HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012