• synonyms


or mor·tice

See more synonyms for mortise on Thesaurus.com
  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. mortise lock.
  3. Printing. a space cut out of a plate, especially for the insertion of type or another plate.
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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).
  3. to join securely.
  4. Printing.
    1. to cut metal from (a plate).
    2. to cut out metal from a plate and insert (new material) in its place.
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Origin of mortise

1350–1400; Middle English morteys, mortaise < Anglo-French mortais(e), Old French mortoise, of obscure origin
Related formsmor·tis·er, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for mortised

Historical Examples

  • For larger engravings a number of sections were mortised together.

    Why Bewick Succeeded

    Jacob Kainen

  • Thy throne is mortised with their bones, cemented with their blood.

    The Book of Khalid

    Ameen Rihani

  • Then he mortised his chin in his brown hands and blinked while he waited.

    Little Novels of Italy

    Maurice Henry Hewlett

  • Let the posts be tied together at the top by mortised beams.

  • He turned the case over, and saw that the bottom had been mortised and screwed.

    The Hand in the Dark

    Arthur J. Rees

British Dictionary definitions for mortised



  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
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verb (tr)
  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
  3. to cut a cavity in (a letterpress printing plate) for the insertion of type, etc
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Derived Formsmortiser, noun

Word Origin

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



c.1400, "hole or groove in which something is fitted to form a joint," from Old French mortaise (13c.), possibly from Arabic murtazz "fastened," past participle of razza "cut a mortise in." Cf. Spanish mortaja.

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mid-15c., from mortise (n.). Related: Mortised; mortising.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper