[ mawr-tis ]
See synonyms for: mortisemortisedmortising on

  1. a notch, hole, groove, or slot made in a piece of wood or the like to receive a tenon of the same dimensions.

  2. a deep recess cut into wood for any of several other purposes, as for receiving a mortise lock.

  1. Printing. a space cut out of a plate, especially for the insertion of type or another plate.

verb (used with object),mor·tised, mor·tis·ing.
  1. to secure with a mortise and tenon

  2. to cut or form a mortise in (a piece of wood or the like).

  1. to join securely.

  2. Printing.

    • to cut metal from (a plate).

    • to cut out metal from a plate and insert (new material) in its place.

Origin of mortise

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English morteys, mortaise, from Anglo-French mortais(e),Old French mortoise; of obscure origin
  • Also mor·tice .

Other words from mortise

  • mor·tis·er, noun

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

How to use mortise in a sentence

  • A joint of this type may be applied in nearly all cases where a halved or a mortise and tenon joint could be used.

    Woodwork Joints | William Fairham

British Dictionary definitions for mortise



/ (ˈmɔːtɪs) /

  1. a slot or recess, usually rectangular, cut into a piece of wood, stone, etc, to receive a matching projection (tenon) of another piece, or a mortise lock

  2. printing a cavity cut into a letterpress printing plate into which type or another plate is inserted

  1. to cut a slot or recess in (a piece of wood, stone, etc)

  2. to join (two pieces of wood, stone, etc) by means of a mortise and tenon

  1. to cut a cavity in (a letterpress printing plate) for the insertion of type, etc

Origin of mortise

C14: from Old French mortoise, perhaps from Arabic murtazza fastened in position

Derived forms of mortise

  • mortiser, noun

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