Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A usually rectangular cavity in a piece of wood, stone, or other material, prepared to receive a tenon and thus form a joint.
  • noun Printing A hole cut in a plate for insertion of type.
  • transitive verb To join or fasten securely, as with a mortise and tenon.
  • transitive verb To make a mortise in.
  • transitive verb To cut a hole in (a plate) for the insertion of type.
  • transitive verb To cut such a hole and insert (type).

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A hollow cut in a piece of wood or other material to receive a corresponding projection, called a tenon, formed on another piece in order to fix the two together.
  • noun Figuratively, stability; power of adhesion.
  • To join by a tenon and mortise; fix in or as in a mortise.
  • To cut or make a mortise in.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A cavity cut into a piece of timber, or other material, to receive something (as the end of another piece) made to fit it, and called a tenon.
  • noun (Carp.) made with a mortise and tenon; joined or united by means of a mortise and tenon; -- used adjectively.
  • noun a joint made by a mortise and tenon.
  • noun See under Lock.
  • noun a cast-iron wheel, with wooden clogs inserted in mortises on its face or edge; -- also called mortise gear, and core gear.
  • transitive verb To cut or make a mortise in.
  • transitive verb To join or fasten by a tenon and mortise.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun woodworking A hole that is made to receive a tenon so as to form a joint
  • verb woodworking To make a mortise.
  • verb typography To adjust the horizontal space between selected pairs of letters; to kern.

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

  • verb cut a hole for a tenon in
  • noun a square hole made to receive a tenon and so to form a joint
  • verb join by a tenon and mortise

Etymologies

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

[Middle English mortaise, from Old French, perhaps from Arabic murtazz, fastened, from irtazza, to be fixed (in place), derived stem of razza, to fix, insert; see rzz in Semitic roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

First attested circa fourteenth century, from Old French mortaise, of uncertain origin.

Examples

  • The mortise is the rectangular hole cut to receive the tenon and is made slightly deeper than the tenon is long.

    Handwork in Wood

  • The tenon here is narrow and engages the mortise, which is situated in the compressional fibres immediately adjoining the neutral layer.

    Woodwork Joints How they are Set Out, How Made and Where Used.

  • In the construction of mission furniture where mortise joints are mostly used, those who cannot have access to a mortising machine will find the following method of great assistance in obtaining a true mortise, which is necessary in work of this kind.

    Mission Furniture How to Make It, Part 2

  • The mortise is the cavity hollowed to fit the tenon, which is the end of the interlocking beam, shaped to fit smoothly into the mortise.

    Columbia Missourian: Latest Articles

  • He never got calls during dinner from frazzled friends having trouble with mortise and tenon joinery, plus David seemed like a nice enough guy.

    Parents Behaving Badly

  • At the edge of one stack of timber is a squared piece of wood with a hand-cut mortise and tenon, the traditional joint used in many Japanese buildings.

    Hope in Japan mixes with fear as reality rolls in

  • He never got calls during dinner from frazzled friends having trouble with mortise and tenon joinery, plus David seemed like a nice enough guy.

    Parents Behaving Badly

  • With their unique design this sleek chair is available in a variety of domestic and exotic hardwoods, and features double tapered laminations, and mortise and tenon joinery.

    Birdy Chair

  • I can cut it to rough shape with a steel blade, form it with a router, chop a mortise or cleave a tenon.

    Amber Room

  • When men lose this capacity to mortise and tenon with wood, we're kind of left with nothing to do, like those big drone bees that get kicked out of the hive.

    Last Man Standing: Is Tim Allen's Character a Buffoon?

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