"mixture of cement, material used (in building) for binding together stones or bricks," mid-13c., from Old French mortier "builder's mortar, plaster; bowl for mixing" (13c.) and directly from Latin mortarium "mortar, mixture of lime and sand," also "crushed drugs," which probably is the same word as mortarium "bowl for mixing or pounding" (see mortar (n.2)), with the sense transferred from the bowl to the material prepared in it. Dutch mortel, German Mörtel are from Latin or French.
"bowl for pounding, vessel in which substances are beaten to powder by means of a pestle," c. 1200, from Old French mortier "bowl; builder's mortar" and directly from Latin mortarium "bowl for mixing or pounding," also used of the material prepared in it, a word of unknown origin as it is impossible now to determine which sense was original. Watkins says probably from PIE root *mer- "to rub away, harm;" de Vaan finds this plausible. Late Old English had mortere, from the same Latin source, which might also be a source of the modern word. German Mörser also is from Latin.
"short cannon, ordnance piece short in proportion to the size of its bore," fired at a high angle and meant to secure a vertical fall of the projectile, 1620s, originally mortar-piece (1550s), from French mortier "short cannon," in Old French, "bowl for mixing or pounding" (see mortar (n.2)). So called for its shape.
also mortar-board, 1823, "square board used by masons to hold mortar for plastering," from mortar (n.1) + board (n.1). By 1854 in reference to the academic cap, probably so called because it resembles the mason's board. Earlier it was called a mortar cap (1680s) or simply morter (c. 1600), from French mortier.
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to rub away, harm." Possibly identical with the root *mer- that means "to die" and forms words referring to death and to beings subject to death.
It forms all or part of: amaranth; ambrosia; amortize; Amritsar; immortal; manticore; marasmus; mare (n.3) "night-goblin, incubus;" morbid; mordacious; mordant; moribund; morsel; mort (n.2) "note sounded on a horn at the death of the quarry;" mortal; mortality; mortar; mortgage; mortify; mortmain; mortuary; murder; murrain; nightmare; post-mortem; remorse.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit mrnati "crushes, bruises," mriyate "to kill," martave "to die," mrta- "died, dead," mrtih "death," martah "mortal man," amrta- "immortal;" Avestan miriia- "to die," miryeite "dies," Old Persian martiya- "man;" Hittite mer- "to disappear, vanish," marnu- "to make disappear;" Armenian meranim "to die;" Greek marainein "to consume, exhaust, put out, quench," marasmus "consumption," emorten "died," brotos "mortal" (hence ambrotos "immortal"); Latin mors (genitive mortis) "death," mori "to die;" Armenian merani- "to die;" Gothic maurþr, Old English morþ "murder;" Old Irish marb, Welsh marw "dead;" Lithuanian mirti "to die," mirtis "death;" Old Church Slavonic mreti "to die," mrutvu "dead;" Russian mertvyj, Serbo-Croatian mrtav "dead."
kind of mortar or other substance that hardens as it dries, used to bind, c. 1300, from Old French ciment "cement, mortar, pitch," from Latin cæmenta "stone chips used for making mortar" (singular caementum), from caedere "to cut down, chop, beat, hew, fell, slay" (from PIE root *kae-id- "to strike"). The sense evolution from "small broken stones" to "powdered stones used in construction" took place before the word reached English. Cement-mixer is from 1875.
The term properly includes papier maché, gums, glues, mucilages, limes, mortars, and a great number of compounds of such nature as to admit of their assuming, under certain conditions, sticky, tenacious, or stone-like consistency. [Century Dictionary]