Definitions

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

  • transitive v. To cause to experience shame, humiliation, or wounded pride; humiliate.
  • transitive v. To discipline (one's body and physical appetites) by self-denial or self-inflicted privation.
  • intransitive v. To practice ascetic discipline or self-denial of the body and its appetites.
  • intransitive v. Pathology To undergo mortification; become gangrenous or necrosed.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To destroy the organic texture and vital functions of; to produce gangrene in.
  • transitive v. To destroy the active powers or essential qualities of; to change by chemical action.
  • transitive v. To deaden by religious or other discipline, as the carnal affections, bodily appetites, or worldly desires; to bring into subjection; to abase; to humble.
  • transitive v. To affect with vexation, chagrin; to depress.
  • transitive v. To humiliate deeply, especially by injuring the pride of; to embarrass painfully; to humble.
  • intransitive v. To lose vitality and organic structure, as flesh of a living body; to gangrene.
  • intransitive v. To practice penance from religious motives; to deaden desires by religious discipline.
  • intransitive v. To be subdued; to decay, as appetites, desires, etc.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To destroy the life of; destroy the vitality of (a part of a living body); affect with gangrene.
  • To deaden; render insensible; make apathetic.
  • To reduce in strength or force; weaken.
  • To subdue, restrain, reduce, or bring into subjection by abstinence or rigorous severities; bring under subjection by ascetic discipline or regimen; subject or restrain in any way, for moral or religious reasons.
  • To humiliate; depress; affect with vexation or chagrin.
  • In chem. and metallurgy, to destroy or diminish the active powers or characteristic qualities of.
  • In Scots law, to dispose of by mortification. See mortification, 3.
  • Synonyms To shame, chagrin. See mortification.
  • To lose vitality and organic structure while yet a portion of the living body; become gangrenous.
  • To become languid; fall into decay.
  • To be subdued; die away: said of inordinate appetites, etc.

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

  • v. hold within limits and control
  • v. undergo necrosis
  • v. practice self-denial of one's body and appetites
  • v. cause to feel shame; hurt the pride of

Etymologies

Middle English mortifien, to deaden, subdue, from Old French mortifier, from Latin mortificāre, to kill : mors, mort-, death; see mer- in Indo-European roots + -ficāre, -fy.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Anglo-Norman mortifier, Middle French mortifier, from Late Latin mortificō ("cause death"), from Latin mors ("death") + -ficō ("-fy"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

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