1. subject to death; having a transitory life: all mortal creatures.
  2. of or relating to human beings as subject to death; human: this mortal life.
  3. belonging to this world.
  4. deadly or implacable; relentless: a mortal enemy.
  5. severe, dire, grievous, or bitter: in mortal fear.
  6. causing or liable to cause death; fatal: a mortal wound.
  7. to the death: mortal combat.
  8. of or relating to death: the mortal hour.
  9. involving spiritual death (opposed to venial): mortal sin.
  10. long and wearisome.
  11. extreme; very great: in a mortal hurry.
  12. conceivable; possible: of no mortal value to the owners.
  1. a human being.
  2. the condition of being subject to death.

Origin of mortal

1325–75; Middle English < Latin mortālis, equivalent to mort- (stem of mors) death + -ālis -al1
Related formsmor·tal·ly, adverbnon·mor·tal, adjective, nounnon·mor·tal·ly, adverbpost·mor·tal, adjectivepost·mor·tal·ly, adverbpre·mor·tal, adjectivepre·mor·tal·ly, adverbun·mor·tal, adjective

Synonyms for mortal

6. See fatal. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for premortal


  1. (of living beings, esp human beings) subject to death
  2. of or involving life or the world
  3. ending in or causing death; fatala mortal blow
  4. deadly or unrelentinga mortal enemy
  5. of or like the fear of death; diremortal terror
  6. great or very intensemortal pain
  7. possiblethere was no mortal reason to go
  8. slang long and tediousfor three mortal hours
  1. a mortal being
  2. informal a persona mean mortal
Derived Formsmortally, adverb

Word Origin for mortal

C14: from Latin mortālis, from mors death
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 premortal



mid-14c., "deadly," also "doomed to die," from Old French mortel "destined to die; deserving of death," from Latin mortalis "subject to death, mortal, of a mortal, human," from mors (genitive mortis) "death," from PIE base *mer- "to die," with derivatives referring to death and human beings" (cf. Sanskrit mrtih "death," martah "mortal man;" Avestan miryeite "dies," Old Persian martiya- "man;" Armenian meranim "die;" Latin mori "to die;" Lithuanian mirtis "mortal man;" Greek brotos "mortal" (hence ambrotos "immortal"); Old Church Slavonic mrutvu "dead;" Old Irish marb, Welsh marw "died;" Old English morþ "murder"). The most widespread Indo-European root for "to die," forming the common word for it except in Greek and Germanic. Watkins says it is "possibly" the same as PIE *mer- "rub, pound, wear away" (see morbid).



"mortal thing or substance," 1520s, from mortal (adj.). Latin mortalis also was used as a noun, "a man, mortal, human being."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

premortal in Medicine


  1. Liable or subject to death.
  2. Causing death; fatal.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.