late 14c., mortifien, "to kill, destroy the life of," from Old French mortefiier "destroy, overwhelm, punish," from Late Latin mortificare "cause death, kill, put to death," literally "make dead," from mortificus "producing death," from Latin mors (genitive mortis) "death" (from PIE root *mer- "to rub away, harm," also "to die" and forming words referring to death and to beings subject to death) + combining form of facere "to make, to do" (from PIE root *dhe- "to set, put").
Religious sense of "subdue the flesh by abstinence and discipline" is attested from early 15c. Sense of "humiliate, chagrin, vex" is recorded by 1690s (compare mortification). Related: Mortified; mortifying.
"deeply humiliated," 1717, past-participle adjective from mortify. Earlier it meant "dead to sin or the world" (early 15c.); "gangrenous" (late 14c.).
late 14c., mortificacioun, "mortifying of the flesh, act of subduing the passions and appetites, suppression of bodily desires," from Late Latin mortificationem (nominative mortificatio) "a killing, putting to death," from past-participle stem of mortificare (see mortify). Meaning "death of one part of the body while the rest is still alive" is from early 15c. Sense of "feeling of humiliation" is recorded by 1640s.
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."
"haircloth shirt worn next to the skin by monks and others to mortify the flesh," Old English cilic, from Latin cilicium "a covering," a type of coarse garment (used especially by soldiers and sailors), originally one of Cilician goat hair, from Greek kilikion "coarse cloth," from Kilikia "Cilicia" in Asia Minor. By tradition in Greek mythology the place was named for Cilix, a son of the Phoenician king Agenor.
"to cause to be or appear lower or more humble; depress, especially to abase in estimation; subject to shame or disgrace; mortify," 1530s, a back-formation from humiliation or else from Late Latin humiliatus, past participle of humiliare "to humble," from humilis "lowly, humble," literally "on the ground," from humus "earth" (from PIE root *dhghem- "earth"). Earlier was humily "humble oneself" (mid-15c.), from Old French humilier. Related: Humiliated.
mid-14c., "to put to death by nailing or otherwise affixing to a cross," from Old French crucifer crucefiier (12c., Modern French crucifier), from Vulgar Latin *crucificare, from Late Latin crucifigere "to fasten to a cross," from cruci, dative of Latin crux "cross" (see crux) + figere "to fasten, fix" (from PIE root *dheigw- "to stick, fix").
An ancient mode of capital punishment considered especially ignominious by the Romans and Greeks and reserved in general for slaves and highway robbers. In scripture, "subdue, mortify" (the flesh, etc.), early 14c. Figurative sense of "to torment" is from 1620s. Related: Crucified; crucifying.