Main definitions of mortar in US English:

: mortar1mortar2

mortar1

noun

  • 1A short smoothbore gun for firing shells (technically called bombs) at high angles.

    • ‘Some 4.5 million pieces, varying from anti - air-craft missiles to mortars and assault rifles, were available to civilians as old army depots were turned into free shopping zones.’
    • ‘The missile is deployed in a transport-launching canister from which it is launched through the mortar start technique.’
    • ‘The ammunition arrived today - 300 tonnes of shells, mortar bombs, grenades, machine gun rounds and bullets for the rifles.’
    • ‘Insurgents used grenades, machine guns and mortar shells in continuous volleys.’
    • ‘Howitzers and mortars are more effective because of their ability to engage targets on reverse slopes.’
    • ‘It was very much an artillery war and in the British army shells, mortars, and grenades accounted for 61 per cent of all wounds, with bayonet wounds accounting for only 0.3 per cent.’
    • ‘The Tamil Tigers, who are seeking a homeland in the north and east of Sri Lanka, used rocket-propelled grenades, machine guns and mortars in the attack, the spokesman said.’
    • ‘Four Bulgarian and two Thai soldiers were killed and 37 coalition troops were injured after Iraq's increasingly well-organised resistance attacked, using mortars, machine guns and a car bomb.’
    • ‘As he bravely continued to move around the perimeter, a mortar shell exploded, wounding him in the face and body.’
    • ‘No explosives were found in the mortar shell and the bomb disposal unit said no-one in the local area was at risk.’
    • ‘A spokesman for the Polish-led forces reportedly said the insurgents used a car bomb, mortars and machine guns.’
    • ‘Israeli forces fired on the camp in response to a mortar bomb attack on a settlement.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, sources among Samawah security authorities reported an apparent mortar shell attack near the Dutch military camp in Samawah early Wednesday.’
    • ‘Last year a team of 20 divers scoured the seabed for shells, bombs and mortars up to ten metres deep; items were either brought up for disposal or blown up in situ if they looked unstable.’
    • ‘A car bomb and a mortar rip through a commercial area in central Baghdad.’
    • ‘Near Baquba, insurgents coordinated a car bombing and a mortar attack on a police station.’
    • ‘On Christmas Day, at least five Iraqis and two US soldiers were killed in car bomb explosions and mortar attacks.’
    • ‘The Dutch forces' camp in suburban Samawah was attacked on April 22, with one of the mortar shells landing inside the compound.’
    • ‘The Rev Alan Reeve went to preach in Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic, last month and was evacuated two weeks later following an attack of mortar bombs and machine gun fire.’
    • ‘The military said the attack was retaliation for a mortar shell fired toward an army post.’
    1. 1.1 A device used for firing a lifeline or firework.
      • ‘Rockets are more sophisticated devices than mortars.’
  • 2A cup-shaped receptacle made of hard material, in which ingredients are crushed or ground, used especially in cooking or pharmacy.

    ‘a mortar and pestle’
    • ‘Fittings include feeding cups, mortars and pestles, pill-making machines, bench balances, and glass measures.’
    • ‘Some spices come as seeds, so that's when you get to break out your mortar and pestle and grind those seeds up to really bring the flavour out.’
    • ‘Clean ocean sand was added to the mortars to facilitate crushing.’
    • ‘Individual garnets were cut from selected samples, crushed in a mortar and pestle and sieved.’
    • ‘In my wanderings around the hills I had found a mortar and pestle, a moccasin last and a canoe anchor, each fashioned from basalt.’
    • ‘Freeze-dried leaves were ground into powder using a mortar and pestle and homogenized in homogenizing buffer.’
    • ‘‘The trick is getting a proper amalgamation out of the garlic and ginger,’ says a marine, using a plastic mug and a stick as a mortar and pestle.’
    • ‘Wood carving, traditionally limited to the making of implements and utensils - bowls, mortars, pestles, and canoes - is now geared towards the tourist market.’
    • ‘At each sampling date, approximately 1 g FW of a pooled sample of crown tissues from ten plants was ground to a fine powder with a pestle in a mortar containing liquid nitrogen.’
    • ‘Put the lemon thyme leaves in a pestle and mortar and crush with the salt and a good grinding of black pepper.’
    • ‘If you don't have a food processor, you may have to grind the paste by hand in a mortar and pestle (muhaha).’
    • ‘In the mortar, crush 20 black peppercorns and some Maldon salt.’
    • ‘Woodcarvers, all of whom are men, carve masks and figurines as well as mortars, pestles, and bowls.’
    • ‘With a mortar and pestle, crush the thyme, garlic, and peppercorns and place. in a large saucepan.’
    • ‘For the black sesame filling: Using a mortar and pestle, pound the sesame seeds, sugar and cocoa butter into a paste.’
    • ‘Grind all the ingredients together in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle.’
    • ‘They can be ground easily in a mortar and pestle or in an electric spice or coffee grinder.’
    • ‘A mortar and pestle is best, or use a spice mill or food processor.’
    • ‘In a mortar, crush the cloves, cardamom pods and cinnamon.’
    • ‘Remove and place in a mortar and pestle or food processor and crush.’
    dish, basin, pan, pot, crock, crucible
    View synonyms

verb

[with object]
  • Attack or bombard with shells fired from a mortar.

    • ‘The Green Zone headquarters of the occupation in Baghdad was mortared Monday night, with reports of widespread guerilla activity in parts of the city.’
    • ‘The place had been mortared before, and our tent was sitting right here we could be seen from outside the wire.’
    • ‘The regimental camp was mortared twice and the soldiers were routinely required to round up insurgent suspects, occasionally under fire.’
    • ‘‘Everyone's watching it,’ says a Marine corporal at an outpost in Ramadi that is mortared by insurgents daily.’
    • ‘Hopefully, I'll have some good stories when I return, since the people I'm going to visit have been mortared and ambushed several times, luckily without injury.’
    • ‘In a couple of minutes we're in an even poorer-looking neighborhood, bouncing slowly on a street that resembles a heavily mortared battlefield.’
    • ‘Staff Sergeant Brian Flading, a 19D Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran, remembers an incident when his platoon was mortared one night in Balad.’
    • ‘Whether you're ambushed, mortared at your base camp or on patrol, that, ladies and gentlemen, is combat.’
    • ‘Getting shot at, mortared, etc. does not give him the right to look down at his fellow soldiers.’
    • ‘In June 2004, the Post Exchange here was mortared, killing two Soldiers and wounding more than a dozen additional troops.’
    • ‘He's at risk of getting mortared, and he has to move with the military in armored Humvees.’
    • ‘No serious injuries were reported in this attack, nor in the next day's mortaring, which provoked a heavy-weapon Army counter-attack inside Najaf.’
    • ‘American positions and patrols in Mosul are being regularly ambushed or mortared.’
    • ‘I have been shot at, mortared, lost friends, and cared for the wounded.’
    • ‘Despite heavy shelling, mortaring and machine gun fire, within about an hour they made it off the beach.’
    • ‘A military headquarters in Basra city was mortared on October 8, injuring three soldiers.’
    • ‘The resistance can mortar a division headquarters without fear of discovery.’
    • ‘On Sunday night, guerrillas mortared the Baghdad airport, killing a former Fijian soldier working for the British company Global Risk Strategies International.’
    • ‘And these are the headquarters troops, who, the story notes, get mortared every night.’
    • ‘The day before a local warlord had mortared the town, killing 25.’

Origin

Late Old English (in mortar (sense 2 of the noun)), from Old French mortier, from Latin mortarium (to which the English spelling was later assimilated).

Pronunciation

mortar

/ˈmɔrdər//ˈmôrdər/

Main definitions of mortar in US English:

: mortar1mortar2

mortar2

noun

  • A mixture of lime with cement, sand, and water, used in building to bond bricks or stones.

    • ‘In addition to using the same granite, the original mortar was matched with Portland cement lime mortar.’
    • ‘Throwing them aside, I soon uncovered a quantity of building stone and mortar.’
    • ‘If you draw your layout to the nominal size, you will actually be allowing for space between the stones, once laid, for sand infill or mortar.’
    • ‘Separations between brick and mortar can allow air and water to leak through gaps in the wall.’
    • ‘We were having some building work done and there was cement, sand and mortar lying around.’
    • ‘Mr Green suggests pointing these cracks with a putty lime mortar, pigmented to match the stones.’
    • ‘Compared to brick and mortar, the pre-engineered buildings saved about $50,000 per building in labor costs.’
    • ‘A recycling operation takes concrete, brick, mortar and plaster from building sites and grinds them down into building soil to be sold.’
    • ‘The first step is to prepare the surface by applying a mixture of mortar, sand and molasses.’
    • ‘The buildings are all made of either sandstone blocks or mortar with heavy sand content.’
    • ‘By volume the mix is approximately half glass fiber and half cement mortar.’
    • ‘This summer the National Trust asked St Blaise Conservation, directed by Keith Garner, RIBA, to replace the cement with lime mortar.’
    • ‘Weep holes are designed to drain out any water that seeps through the brick or mortar.’
    • ‘One popular type of edging is to use a low brick or rock wall, cemented together with mortar.’
    • ‘The answer may be found in the preceding Pasuk, which says that the people decided to use bricks instead of stones and lime as mortar.’
    • ‘Scores of Chicago's mortar and brick factory buildings and warehouses squat within a shadow's reach of glistening skyscrapers.’
    • ‘The focus today is on mundane businesses that produce, for the most part, bricks, mortar, and concrete.’
    • ‘Sometimes, a layer of mortar and brick or flagstone can be placed on top of an old slab, yielding a very attractive and properly sloped surface.’
    • ‘The major components of construction, as we all know, are, cement, steel, timber, bricks, mortar, sand, etc.’
    • ‘Grout is mortar to which water has been added until it is thin enough to pour.’

verb

[with object]
  • Fix or join using mortar.

    ‘the pipe can be mortared in place’
    • ‘The gazebo wall is made of three rows of decorative concrete blocks mortared together.’
    • ‘Like conventional bricks, adobes are laid in a running bond - an overlapping pattern - then mortared in place with adobe mud.’
    • ‘Everything from the carefully laid oak floors, the tightly mortared stone of the chimney, and the finely woven tapestries imported from around the globe had been specifically consigned for the Samson estate.’
    • ‘‘Once the mixer is in place I can handle the whole process’ adds Scheer, ‘from the mixing and forming of the material to stacking and mortaring.’’
    • ‘The pavers, mortared together for stability, create a transition zone between inside and outside.’
    • ‘The pavers can be set in dirt as with the rocks, or mortared to a poured concrete footing.’
    • ‘Thus, the presence of the form makes those bricks and that mortar a house, as opposed, e.g., to a wall or an oven.’
    • ‘In a few quick glances he absorbed the entire rolling farmland: green stonework mortared by tree windbreaks.’
    • ‘He could start to feel where the stones separated and had been mortared in between.’
    • ‘It was built in local stone mortared with clay and roofed in clay mixed with straw.’
    • ‘It also looked as if one of them at least, the one closest to the church wall, was of someone important as the grave was built of carefully mortared stone slabs.’
    • ‘These are installed as the blocks are mortared into place.’
    • ‘Although steps must be mortared for safety, pavers and flagstones on level ground can be dry-laid in sand, which allows water and oxygen to reach tree roots below.’
    • ‘After you are pleased with the results, you can mortar the stones into place on top of the liner as you would to install edging.’
    • ‘In the darker recesses of the garage, covered until now by a pair of old MDF bookcases, we discovered a single, special brick mortared into the wall.’
    • ‘The rocks are carefully stacked and mortared with mud.’
    • ‘The creek bed is formed with a pond liner and stones; some stones are mortared together to make smooth ledges.’
    • ‘Natural New Jersey sandstone walls, some dry-laid and others mortared, frame the plantings.’
    • ‘The Anglo-Saxon churches however were utilising rough stones for the bulk of their buildings, and these had to be lime mortared into position.’
    • ‘Other mortared walls appear to have been built without any coping and are now suffering the results.’

Origin

Middle English: from Old French mortier, from Latin mortarium, probably a transferred sense of the word denoting a container (see mortar).

Pronunciation

mortar

/ˈmɔrdər//ˈmôrdər/