Definition of mortify in US English:

mortify

verbmortifying, mortifies, mortified

[with object]
  • 1Cause (someone) to feel embarrassed, ashamed, or humiliated.

    ‘she was mortified to see her wrinkles in the mirror’
    • ‘I'm mortified to think someone has to get injured or worse for anything to be done.’
    • ‘Mum is standing over me assembling a costume and I am mortified because not only is my costume home made, it is made out of a brown paper rubbish bag.’
    • ‘I'm always mortified when something like that happens.’
    • ‘I was mortified and apologised profusely to Button's adviser.’
    • ‘Kelly looked mortified at Roxie's suggestion.’
    • ‘Grandma once told me I mortified my mother by saying, ‘I always love coming to Grandma's because it's so clean.’’
    • ‘Everyone laughed at me and I was duly mortified.’
    • ‘It's mortifying that my middle-aged mother is marrying a guy who is only four years older than me.’
    • ‘I am mortified that any discussions about my private life should come out in this way.’
    • ‘I laughed it off but, deep down, I was absolutely mortified.’
    • ‘‘Yeah… it's mortifying to know what happened to him’, Maria remarked.’
    • ‘I was totally mortified, wondering what people thought was happening in there!’
    • ‘‘I was mortified that on my second case I had done exactly what I had set out to avoid at all costs,’ he said.’
    • ‘If I break a glass at someone else's house, I'm mortified beyond belief.’
    • ‘When they told us we couldn't vote I was absolutely mortified.’
    • ‘I hope their parents were mortified when told their children were involved in this type of thing.’
    • ‘She quickly pulled the covers to her neck, feeling mortified to be caught wearing a hospital gown.’
    • ‘Teacher Jane Norton said: ‘The poor girl who was looking after him was mortified.’’
    • ‘I am mortified that this improper, unethical and simply unacceptable breach of confidential files may have occurred on my watch.’
    • ‘Marianne finds this attention mortifying, as she thinks the Colonel, who is thirty-five and talks of flannel waistcoats, is too old to be a lover.’
    embarrass, humiliate, chagrin, shame, discomfit, abash, horrify, appal, crush
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  • 2Subdue (the body or its needs and desires) by self-denial or discipline.

    ‘return to heaven by mortifying the flesh’
    • ‘People who mortify the body in some way will always command a voyeuristic interest.’
    • ‘Asceticism and self-flagellation mortified the flesh.’
    • ‘Many of the Christian systems chastise the body and mortify it.’
    • ‘Stoics sought to free themselves from bodily concerns by philosophical contemplation, while some Christians found value in mortifying the flesh, thereby turning their thoughts to the immortality of the soul.’
    • ‘His path was called ‘the Middle Way’, between life in society (seeking pleasures) and the life of a rigorous ascetic (fasting and mortifying the flesh).’
    • ‘It's a form of catharsis that by mortifying flesh you will actually develop your spiritual side.’
    • ‘If there is no more posting for a few hours, it will be because the Professor is mortifying the flesh with whips, chains and other penitent aids.’
    • ‘There was room for two people to move comfortably, and a little altar of rock, at which Probus had prayed from sunrise to sunset, mortifying the flesh, dreaming of the Millennium.’
    • ‘It subdues and mortifies evil desires and blasphemous thoughts as they rise within; and answers unbelief and error as they assault from without.’
    subdue, suppress, subjugate, control, restrain, get under control
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  • 3no object (of flesh) be affected by gangrene or necrosis.

    ‘the cut in Henry's arm had mortified’
    • ‘He received a cut of the thumb, was afterwards made an out-patient of the infirmary, but the wound mortified, produced lock-jaw, and death ensued.’
    • ‘The wound mortified and caused his death on 14 November 1804.’
    become gangrenous, fester, putrefy, gangrene, rot, decay, decompose
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Origin

Late Middle English (in the senses ‘put to death’, ‘deaden’, and ‘subdue by self-denial’): from Old French mortifier, from ecclesiastical Latin mortificare ‘kill, subdue’, from mors, mort- ‘death’.

Pronunciation

mortify

/ˈmôrdəˌfī//ˈmɔrdəˌfaɪ/