a notch, hole, groove, or slot made in a piece of wood or the like to receive a tenon of the same dimensions.
a deep recess cut into wood for any of several other purposes, as for receiving a mortise lock.
Printing. a space cut out of a plate, especially for the insertion of type or another plate.
verb (used with object), mortised, mortising.
to secure with a mortise and tenon.
to cut or form a mortise in (a piece of wood or the like).
to join securely.
to cut metal from (a plate).
to cut out metal from a plate and insert (new material) in its place.
Also, mortice.

1350–1400; Middle English morteys, mortaise < Anglo-French mortais(e), Old French mortoise, of obscure origin

mortiser, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
mortise or mortice (ˈmɔːtɪs)
1.  a slot or recess, usually rectangular, cut into a piece of wood, stone, etc, to receive a matching projection (tenon) of another piece, or a mortise lock
2.  printing a cavity cut into a letterpress printing plate into which type or another plate is inserted
3.  to cut a slot or recess in (a piece of wood, stone, etc)
4.  to join (two pieces of wood, stone, etc) by means of a mortise and tenon
5.  to cut a cavity in (a letterpress printing plate) for the insertion of type, etc
[C14: from Old French mortoise, perhaps from Arabic murtazza fastened in position]
mortice or mortice
[C14: from Old French mortoise, perhaps from Arabic murtazza fastened in position]
'mortiser or mortice

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

c.1400, "hole or groove in which something is fitted to form a joint," from O.Fr. mortaise (13c.), possibly from Arabic murtazz "fastened," pp. of razza "cut a mortise in." Cf. Sp. mortaja.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
There is a pleasure that's derived from the achievement of a well chiseled and
  fitted mortise and tenon.
These cuts are made on the shoulder of a tenon where it meets a mortise on a
  curved chair leg.
The timber rafters connect at the peak with a mortise and tenon joint, worked
  at angles to account for the slope of the roof.
Beyond this, mortise locks may contain additional features that vary depending
  on the intended application of the lock.
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