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mor·tar1 / ˈmôrtər/ • n. 1. a cup-shaped receptacle made of hard material, in which ingredients are crushed or ground, used esp. in cooking or pharmacy: a mortar and pestle. 2. a short, smoothbore gun for firing shells (technically called bombs) at high angles. ∎  a similar device used for firing a lifeline or firework. • v. [tr.] attack or bombard with shells fired from a mortar.

mortar and pestle

mor·tar2 • n. a mixture of lime with cement, sand, and water, used in building to bond bricks or stones. • v. [tr.] fix or join using mortar: the pipe can be mortared in place. DERIVATIVES: mor·tar·less adj. mor·tar·y adj.

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mortaraorta, daughter, exhorter, exporter, extorter, Horta, importer, mortar, porter, quarter, slaughter, snorter, sorter, sporter, supporter, three-quarter, torte, transporter, underwater, water •altar, alter, assaulter, defaulter, falter, Gibraltar, halter, Malta, palter, psalter, salter, vaulter, Walter •flaunter, haunter, saunter, taunter, vaunter •exhauster, Forster •fraudster • granddaughter •stepdaughter • manslaughter •ripsnorter • pole-vaulter • backwater •headquarter • freshwater •breakwater • rainwater • seawater •dishwater • tidewater • Whitewater •saltwater • rosewater • shearwater •firewater •doubter, grouter, outer, pouter, scouter, shouter, spouter, touter •counter, encounter, mounter •jouster, ouster •revcounter •bloater, boater, Botha, Dakota, doter, emoter, floater, gloater, iota, Kota, Minnesota, motor, promoter, quota, rota, rotor, scoter, voter •bolter, coulter (US colter), Volta •boaster, coaster, poster, roaster, toaster •roadster • oldster •bolster, holster, pollster, soulster, upholster •billposter

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A. cup-shaped vessel in which drugs, etc., are pounded with a pestle XIII;

B. short piece of ordnance (so named from its squat shape) XVII (orig. mortar-piece XVI). partly — AN. morter, (O)F. mortier :- L. mortārium (to which the Eng. sp. was finally assim.); partly — MLG. mortēr (Du. mortier) — L.

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MORTAR. So named because of its resemblance to pharmacist's mortar, a military mortar is a short gun used for firing projectiles at a high angle. It is most suitable for lobbing projectiles over walls of fortifications and over high ground that would mask the target from weapons having a flatter trajectory or for firing from and into heavy woods. There were gigantic siege mortars and diminutive coehorns or royals.

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mortar. Plastic material to bond stones and bricks together. Before C20 it was usually made from crushed burnt limestone mixed with sand and water, often with additional brick- or stone-dust. Today, Portland cement is used with sand and water, sometimes with lime or other additives.


Nicholson (1835);
W. Papworth (1852);
Sturgis et al. (1901–2)

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mortar2 mixture of lime and sand with water, used for building. XIII. — AN. morter (see prec.), with transference of meaning from the vessel to the substance produced in it.