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mortar (in building)

mortar, in building, mixture of lime or cement with sand and water, used as a bedding and adhesive between adjacent pieces of stone, brick, or other material in masonry construction. Lime mortar, a common variety, consists usually of one volume of well-slaked lime to three or four volumes of sand, thoroughly mixed with sufficient water to make a uniform paste easily handled on a trowel. Lime mortar hardens by absorption of carbon dioxide from the air. Once universally used, lime mortar is now less important because it does not have the property of setting underwater and because of its comparatively low strength. It has largely been supplanted by cement mortar, commonly made of one volume of Portland cement to two or three volumes of sand, usually with a quantity of lime paste added to give a more workable mix. Cement mortar, besides having a high strength, generally equal to that of brick itself, has the very great advantage of setting or hardening underwater. Other varieties include gauge mortar, for rapid setting, composed of plaster of Paris used either pure or combined with lime or with lime and sand, and grout, a thin liquid mixture of lime or cement, poured into masonry to fill up small interstices. Primitive mortars took various forms: in early Egypt, Nile mud was used as an adhesive; the Mesopotamians used bitumen (the slime mentioned in Genesis) or sometimes a mixture of clay, water, and chopped straw, to cement together their unbaked bricks; Greeks of the Mycenaean era probably employed a soft bituminous clay. The advanced Greek buildings are notable for their construction without mortar, the huge blocks of stone being consummately fitted with dry beds. The Romans likewise used little mortar in cut stonework or vaulting but in later periods bedded the rough stone of their mass masonry in strong cement mortar. In medieval times and in all periods since, mortar of some sort has been almost universally used in masonry construction.

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mortar

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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mortar

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.

Bibliography

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

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mortar

mortar1
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

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.

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mortar

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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Mortar

Mortar

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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