Definition of mortise in English:


(also mortice)

Pronunciation /ˈmôrdəs/ /ˈmɔrdəs/

Translate mortise into Spanish


  • A hole or recess cut into a part which is designed to receive a corresponding projection (a tenon) on another part so as to join or lock the parts together.

    ‘a mortise and tenon joint’
    • ‘With an octagonal cross section, the frame of the pagoda is completely made of wooden parts solidly linked by many mortises and tenons held together by a sophisticated system of brackets, in 54 different varieties.’
    • ‘Mark and cut the mortise and recess for the strike plate using the same method used for installing the lock.’
    • ‘The bars were jointed to the stiles and rails using a small mortise with a corresponding tenon in the bar.’
    • ‘Then cut a V-channel across the mortise anywhere within the mortise.’
    • ‘Jefferson simplified the complicated joinery of mortises, tenons, and wooden keys by substituting laminated sections fabricated with an abundance of nails readily available from his plantation nail factory.’
    • ‘The added work of chiseling mortises and cutting tenons for the joined stretcher, rather than setting a turned stretcher into drilled holes, seems to suggest a decorative aspiration rather than a structural need.’
    • ‘Drill a hole and chisel a shallow mortise in that jamb for the strike plate.’
    • ‘There are two main types of joint- the mortise and tenon, and the dovetail.’
    • ‘Instead, they employ hand-chiseled mortises and tenons, which are secured by wooden pegs that must be carved by hand.’
    • ‘Mortise attachments are very popular, allowing you to drill precise mortises with your drill press.’
    • ‘If the door is not plumb, you may have to adjust the hinge in its mortise.’
    • ‘Use a sharp chisel or utility knife to enlarge the mortise in the direction that you need to move the plate.’
    • ‘Unpinned splat tenons have room to expand and contract within the mortise, avoiding splitting.’
    • ‘That's why so many old guns have a broken wrist or lock mortise.’
    • ‘The router is used to cut contours in wood for edgings and moldings or for more complex relief panels and inlay work, dovetails, and mortises.’
    • ‘You can use a router to cut mortises for hardware, to joint and trim lumber, to create recesses for decorative inlays, and much more.’
    • ‘On the day of the accident, when fitting earlier sections to the tower the crew had difficulty in aligning the tenons on the top of the tower with the mortices on the bottom of the new tower section.’
    • ‘If this chair had been produced by the sophisticated woodworking machinery of the late nineteenth or early twentieth century, it is reasonable to expect that the mortises would also have been machine cut.’
    • ‘It appears that the left side of the stock, as well, has been planed away slightly to open the left side of the iron mortise.’
    • ‘The stock was made of hardwood, in two pieces, to simplify forming the wedge mortise.’
    • ‘The mortised joint is even neater than the butt joint, but you must cut a mortise into the post for this joint.’

transitive verb

[with object]
  • 1Join securely by using a mortise and tenon.

    ‘the top plate of the rudder assembly can be mortised to the top of the rudder post’
    • ‘Helping to compensate for this are the joined struts that are mortised and tenoned to both the joists and rafters, in effect converting each rafter-joist pair into what might be described as the most primitive form of truss.’
    • ‘All members with the exception of the collar ties and wind braces are mortised and tenoned together with long tapered pins that secure the joints.’
    • ‘Drill into the frame and into the stud behind it at this point, mortise the frame to accept the strike plate, then attach the plate to the frame.’
    • ‘They are most often used in new installations and as replacements because they are mortised into the frame of the door.’
    • ‘You will need to mortise the plate into the edge of the door so that it is flush with the surface of the edge.’
    joint, join, fit together, link, interlock, splice, mortise, tenon
    1. 1.1Cut a mortise in or through.
      ‘double tenons are made when the part to be tenoned is considerably wider than the part to be mortised’
      • ‘Interestingly, neither the chairs nor the armchair have side rails mortised through the rear posts as is so common (but not universal) in Philadelphia work.’
      • ‘Mammoth tree trunks stretch across ceilings above hand-carved lintels, mortised into place in elaborate structures.’
      • ‘The extractor is massive and mortised into the side of the bolt.’
      • ‘The mortised joint is even neater than the butt joint, but you must cut a mortise into the post for this joint.’
      • ‘Rafters were cut into mortised joints at the ridge, and braces buttress the walls in every direction.’


Late Middle English from Old French mortaise.