American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A vessel in which substances are crushed or ground with a pestle.
- n. A machine in which materials are ground and blended or crushed.
- n. A portable, muzzleloading cannon used to fire shells at low velocities, short ranges, and high trajectories.
- n. Any of several similar devices, such as one that shoots life lines across a stretch of water.
- n. Any of various bonding materials used in masonry, surfacing, and plastering, especially a plastic mixture of cement or lime, sand, and water that hardens in place and is used to bind together bricks or stones.
- v. To bombard with mortar shells.
- v. To plaster or join with mortar.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A vessel in which substances are beaten to powder by means of a pestle. The chief use of mortars now is in the preparation of drugs. Mortars are made of hard and heavy wood, such as lignumvitæ, of stone, marble, pottery, metal, and glass.
- n. In a stamp-mill, the cast-iron box into which the stamp-heads fall, at the bottom of which is the die on which they would strike if it were not for the interposed ore with which the mortar is kept partly filled, and on whose side is the grating or screen through which the ore escapes as soon as it has been broken to sufficient fineness to pass through the holes in the screen.
- n. A kind of lamp or candlestick with a broad saucer or bowl to catch the grease and keep the light safe; hence, the candle itself: in modern times, chiefly in ecclesiastical use, in the French form mortier.
- n. A cap shaped like a mortar. Compare mortar-board.
- n. A piece of ordnance, short in proportion to the size of its bore, used in throwing bombshells in what is called vertical fire. The shells are thrown at a high angle of elevation, so as to drop from above into the enemy's intrenchment. See cut in next column.
- To bray in a mortar.
- n. A material used (in building) for binding together stones or bricks so that the mass may form one compact whole. The use of mortar dates back to the earliest recorded history, but various materials were employed for that purpose. “Bitumen” (asphaltum and maltha), or bituminous mixtures, are known to have been used in Babylon and Nineveh. Plaster (calcined sulphate of lime) was the cement employed on the Great Pyramid, and apparently by the Egyptians generally, but not to the entire exclusion of what is now ordinarily called
mortar. The substances mentioned are frequently designated as mortar innon-technical works. What is now generally understood by this term among builders and architects is a mixture of lime with water and sand, in various proportions, according to the “fatness” of the lime and the desire to economize the more costly material. This kind of mortar was well known to both Greeks and Romans. Mortar made of ordinary lime “sets” (hardens) in the air (not under water) and slowly, since the absorption of carbonic acid and the consequent conversion of the hydrate of lime into the carbonate is by no means a rapid process. The hardening of the mortar depends in large part on the crystallization of the carbonate of lime around the grains of sand, by which these are made to cohere firmly; hence, a clean sand of which the grains are angular is of importance in forming a durable mortar. The kind of mortar which sets under water is sometimes called hydraulic mortar, but is more generally known as hydraulic cement, or simply cement. See cementand cement-stone.
- To fasten or inclose with mortar.
- n. uncountable A mixture of lime or cement, sand and water used for bonding bricks and stones.
- n. countable, military A muzzle-loading, indirect fire weapon with a tube length of 10 to 20 calibers and designed to lob shells at very steep trajectories.
- n. countable A hollow vessel used to pound, crush, rub, grind or mix ingredients with a pestle.
- v. To use mortar or plaster to join two things together.
- v. To fire a mortar (weapon)
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. A strong vessel, commonly in form of inverted bell, in which substances are pounded or rubbed with a pestle.
- n. (Mil.) A short piece of ordnance, used for throwing bombs, carcasses, shells, etc., at high angles of elevation, as 45°, and even higher; -- so named from its resemblance in shape to the utensil above described.
- n. (Arch.) A building material made by mixing lime, cement, or plaster of Paris, with sand, water, and sometimes other materials; -- used in masonry for joining stones, bricks, etc., also for plastering, and in other ways.
- v. To plaster or make fast with mortar.
- n. obsolete A chamber lamp or light.
- v. plaster with mortar
- n. a muzzle-loading high-angle gun with a short barrel that fires shells at high elevations for a short range
- n. used as a bond in masonry or for covering a wall
- n. a bowl-shaped vessel in which substances can be ground and mixed with a pestle
- From Old French mortier, from Latin mortarium. (Wiktionary)
- Middle English morter, from Old English mortere and from Old French mortier, both from Latin mortārium; see mer- in Indo-European roots. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“I note he used the term mortar, rather than howitzer, but the implication is certainly the same.”
“(If people had seen anyone firing a mortar from the middle of the street outside the school, they likely would not have continued to mill around.)”
““Analytical study shows that the ancient masonry mortar is a kind of special organic-inorganic composite material,” the scientists explained.”
“The mortar is not placed properly thus there is no strength!!”
“He was shipped overseas in 1943 in advance of the invasion of Italy and was wounded in Cassino (a "barber's nick" he called the mortar injury) as the Army fought its way up the boot of Italy.”
“To prepare this rice for cooking after harvested they would burn a trough into a log, they called mortar and with a large wooden mallet they called pessel, and which they would pound upon the rice until hulled and ready for cooking.”
“And how pleasant was the "mortar" -- the mixture of crushed nuts and apples and wine which symbolized the mortar out of which the Israelites made bricks in Egypt, when they were slaves!”
“These walls are made of rubble, or loose, unhewn stones, piled together with a kind of mortar, which is little more than clay baked hard in the heat of the sun.”
“They took great offence at a large package carried by six men which contained our necessaries, insisting that within it we had concealed a priuk api, for so they call a mortar or howitzer, one of which had been used with success against a village on the borders of their country during the rebellion of the son of the sultan of Moco-moco; and even when satisfied respecting this they manifested so much suspicion that we found it necessary to be constantly on our guard, and were once nearly provoked by their petulance and treachery to proceed to violence.”
“Ba-Hoku called the mortar strike a "lucky hit" for the al-Qaida-linked militants, who are battling to overthrow Somalia's weak, U. N.-backed government and to force the withdrawal of the peacekeeping force.”
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