mort-, mor-, mori-, morti- +

(Latin: death, dead; die, dying)

Is minimum eget mortalis qui minimum eupit.
That man is least in want who desires least.

From Publilius Syrus, Sententiae (c.43 B.C.).

moratia, moratic
Cause of death or a reference to death.
1. At the point of death or dying.
2. Having lost all sense of purpose or vitality.
3. Becoming obsolescent.

As Dr. Blank concluded his lecture, a woman rushed up to him. "Doctor," she said, "I've wanted to shake your hand and thank you ever since you saved my life two years ago."

"When was that?" asked the doctor politely, taking her hand and trying to remember her face.

"I was in the hospital and they had all given me up," explained the woman. "No one seemed to know what was the matter with me. Then one day you came into my room with some other doctors, took just one look at me and diagnosed my case instantly. I began getting well from that hour, and you can see I'm perfectly all right now."

"That's very interesting," said the doctor, still lost at sea. "I diagnosed your case with one look? What did I say?"

"It's funny, but I can't remember the exact word. It began with an 'm' and was three syllables. I meant to look it up, but I never did."

The doctor thought a moment. "Was it 'moribund'?"

"Yes," cried the woman delightedly. "And I began to improve the moment you said it!"

—Contributed by Agnes Rothery as seen in
The Reader's Digest; June, 1949; page 81.
1. The state, or quality, of being on the verge of death.
2. Someone, or something, which is close to extinction or of being stagnant.
1. A reference to the approach of death; or someone, or something, about to die.
2. On the verge of becoming obsolete or of no longer performing effectively or usefully.
1. Subject to death or destined to die.
2. Fatal or causing death.
3. Of this world; fleeting; destined to die.
4. To the death; as, mortal combat; or a mortal wound.
5. Causing death; fatal.

"Death Speaks"

There was a merchant in Baghdad who sent his servant to market to buy provisions and in a little while the servant came back, white and trembling, and said, "Master, just now when I was in the market place I was jostled by a woman in the crowd and when I turned I saw it was Death that jostled me. She looked at me and made a threatening gesture; now, lend me your horse, and I will ride away from this city and avoid my fate. I will go on to Samarra and there Death will not find me."

The merchant lent him his horse, and the servant mounted it, and he dug his spurs in its flanks and as fast as the horse could gallop he went.

Then the merchant went down to the market-place and he saw me standing in the crowd and he came to me and said, "Why did you make a threatening gesture to my servant when you saw him this morning?"

"That was not a threatening gesture," I said, "it was only a start of surprise. I was astonished to see him in Baghdad, for I had an appointment with him tonight in Samarra."

Attributed to Somerset Maugham, Preface to Appointment in Samarra,
by John O’Hara
mortal enemy
1. An enemy who wants to kill a person.
2. A personal enemy.
mortal sin
1. In Roman Catholic theology, a sin considered to be so evil that it causes a complete loss of grace and leads to damnation unless it is absolved.
2. A sin; such as, murder or blasphemy, that is so heinous it deprives the soul of sanctifying grace and causes damnation if unpardoned at the time of death.
3. A willfully committed, serious transgression against the law of God, depriving the soul of divine grace.

Theologians have listed seven mortal sins, including: perjury, adultery, lust, murder, contraceptive use, and abortion.

1. The quality of being mortal.
2. The mortality or death rate.
3. In life insurance, the ratio of actual deaths to expected deaths.
4. Frequency in the number of deaths in proportion to a population.
Life is a sheet of paper white
Whereon each one of us may write
His word or two, and then comes night.
—James R. Lowell
To make mortal; causing or capable of causing death; subject to death.
So as to cause death; (to fight) to the death so as “To be mortally wounded.”
Quality of being mortal; mortality.
1. The total amount of money lent to a borrower by a money-lending organization, with some of the borrower’s property being given as security.
2. Historically, when the oldest son of a nobleman needed large sums of money which his father refused to give him, he often turned to borrowing.

In arranging the loan, he would gage or “pledge” to repay the debt when his father died (at which time the son expected to receive his inheritance).

So it is that mortgage originally meant a pledge to repay upon the death of one’s father. Now the word is used when someone pledges property as a guarantee; such as, a house, to a creditor as security or a guarantee for the repayment of a loan or other debt; as shown in the illustration below.

Historical illustration of mortgage
mortgageable (adjective) (not comparable)
Susceptible, or capable, of being hypothecated: Jack thought that his house was mortgageable since he wanted to ask his bank for a sizable loan.
The person who accepts a mortgage or a lien upon land or other property as security for the performance of some obligation.

Related "death, dead; kill" units: -cide; lethal-; neci-; necro-; phono-; thanato-.