from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A feeling of shame, humiliation, or wounded pride.
  • n. Discipline of the body and the appetites by self-denial or self-inflicted privation.
  • n. Pathology Death or decay of one part of a living body; gangrene or necrosis.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The act of mortifying.
  • n. A sensation of extreme shame or embarrassment.
  • n. The death of part of the body.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of mortifying, or the condition of being mortified.
  • n. The death of one part of an animal body, while the rest continues to live; loss of vitality in some part of a living animal; gangrene.
  • n. Destruction of active qualities; neutralization.
  • n. Subjection of the passions and appetites, by penance, abstinence, or painful severities inflicted on the body.
  • n. Deep humiliation or shame, from a loss of pride; painful embarassment, usually arising from exposure of a mistake; chagrin; vexation.
  • n. That which mortifies; the cause of humiliation, chagrin, or vexation.
  • n. A gift to some charitable or religious institution; -- nearly synonymous with mortmain.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The act of mortifying, or the condition of being mortified.
  • n. The act of subduing the passions and appetites by penance, abstinence, or painful severities infiicted on the body; a severe penance.
  • n. Humiliation; vexation; the state of being humbled or depressed, as by disappointment or vexation; chagrin.
  • n. (d ) In chem. and metallurgy, the destruction of active qualities (now called sickening both in the United States and in Australia, with especial reference to quicksilver and amalgamation).
  • n. In Scots law, the act of disposing of lands for religious or charitable purposes.
  • n. That which mortifies; a cause of chagrin, humiliation, or vexation.
  • n. In Scots law, lands given formerly to the church for religious purposes, or since the Reformation for charitable or public uses.
  • n. Synonyms Vexation, Chagrin, Mortification. These words advance in strength of meaning, as to both cause and effect. Vexation is a comparatively petty feeling, produced by small but annoying or irritating disappointments, slights, etc. Chagrin is acute disappointment and humiliation, perhaps after confident expectation. Mortification is chagrin so great as to seem a death to one's pride or self-respect. See tease and anger.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an instance in which you are caused to lose your prestige or self-respect
  • n. the localized death of living cells (as from infection or the interruption of blood supply)
  • n. strong feelings of embarrassment
  • n. (Christianity) the act of mortifying the lusts of the flesh by self-denial and privation (especially by bodily pain or discomfort inflicted on yourself)


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • Page 50 modification of structure occurs, to which the term mortification is applied.

    An Epitome of Practical Surgery, for Field and Hospital.

  • GALLAGHER: Well, self-flagellation is an extreme form of self - denial, what they call mortification, and which, in fact, is not unknown to the Catholic religion, or indeed other religions that practice self-denial and that encourage self-denial, sacrifice, for one's own good.

    CNN Transcript Oct 6, 2002

  • And then, but that half a dozen at once endeavoured to keep down her violent hands, would she have beaten herself; as it seems she had often attempted to do from the time the surgeon popt out the word mortification to her.

    Clarissa Harlowe

  • This treatment was called mortification or faisandage after the pheasant, faisan, and had two purposes: it tenderized the meat, and further heightened its “wild” flavor.

    On Food and Cooking, The Science and Lore of the Kitchen

  • This performance he called a mortification of his frame; but when this sly churchman slipped up and put on his capote again, his thin visage bore the same gratified lines which may be seen on the face of a child making mud pies.

    Old Kaskaskia

  • The consuming progress of mortification is the image.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

  • Belinda assured her that she felt no mortification from the disappointment.


  • John Baptist appears no way inferior to him in mortification; this therefore is that Elias that was to come.

    Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume V (Matthew to John)

  • What a mortification is this to the princes of the blood, as they call themselves, that God can make that blood, that royal blood, which swells their veins, a feast for the birds and beasts of prey!

    Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume IV (Isaiah to Malachi)

  • Wanted to post that I believe it was incorrect referring to Mass attendance in a cafeteria year after year as a "mortification"- it was a "discipline" maybe- but please pardon my poor word usage.

    I thought about it, and I disagree...with myself!


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  • While Gouverneur Morris was home from King’s, he accidently upset a kettle of water on his right arm and side.…one family member wrote to another, ‘…he rested much better than he had before…though his right arm seemed too free from pain for so great a wound, which you know is the first sign of a mortification.’”

    --Richard Brookhiser, Gentleman Revolutionary, p10 of the Free Press paperback

    August 31, 2011