Definition of mortar noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈmɔːtə(r)//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈmɔːrtər//
    Construction, Weapons
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  1. 1[uncountable] a mixture of sand, water, lime and cement used in building for holding bricks and stones together See related entries: Construction
  2. 2 [countable] a heavy gun that fires bombs and shells high into the air; the bombs that are fired by this gun to come under mortar fire/attack See related entries: Weapons
  3. 3[countable] a small hard bowl in which you can crush substances such as seeds and grains into powder with a special object (called a pestle)
  4. bricks and mortar
    Word Originnoun sense 1 Middle English: from Old French mortier, from Latin mortarium, probably a transferred sense of the word denoting a container. noun senses 2 to 3 late Old English (in sense (3)), from Old French mortier, from Latin mortarium (to which the English spelling was later assimilated).Extra examples The occasional mortar burst near our truck. Their troops were armed with mortars and machine guns. They could not move their heavy mortars over the swampy ground. We were under constant mortar fire. hit by a mortar shell Two soldiers were killed when their patrol came under mortar fire.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: mortar