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Wordnet 3.0

NOUN (2)

1. real property held inalienably (as by an ecclesiastical corporation);
[syn: mortmain, dead hand]

2. the oppressive influence of past events or decisions;
[syn: dead hand, dead hand of the past, mortmain]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Mortification \Mor`ti*fi*ca"tion\, n. [F., fr. L. mortificatio a killing. See Mortify.] 1. The act of mortifying, or the condition of being mortified; especially: (a) (Med.) The death of one part of an animal body, while the rest continues to live; loss of vitality in some part of a living animal; gangrene. --Dunglison. (b) (Alchem. & Old Chem.) Destruction of active qualities; neutralization. [Obs.] --Bacon. (c) Subjection of the passions and appetites, by penance, abstinence, or painful severities inflicted on the body. [1913 Webster] The mortification of our lusts has something in it that is troublesome, yet nothing that is unreasonable. --Tillotson. [1913 Webster] 2. Deep humiliation or shame, from a loss of pride; painful embarassment, usually arising from exposure of a mistake; chagrin; vexation. [1913 Webster +PJC] 3. That which mortifies; the cause of humiliation, chagrin, or vexation. [1913 Webster] It is one of the vexatious mortifications of a studious man to have his thoughts discovered by a tedious visit. --L'Estrange. [1913 Webster] 4. (Scots Law) A gift to some charitable or religious institution; -- nearly synonymous with mortmain. [1913 Webster] Syn: Chagrin; vexation; shame. See Chagrin. [1913 Webster]
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Mortmain \Mort"main`\, n. [F. mort, morte, dead + main hand; F. main-morte. See Mortal, and Manual.] (Law) Possession of lands or tenements in, or conveyance to, dead hands, or hands that cannot alienate. [1913 Webster] Note: The term was originally applied to conveyance of land made to ecclesiastical bodies; afterward to conveyance made to any corporate body. --Burrill. [1913 Webster]
WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006):

mortmain n 1: real property held inalienably (as by an ecclesiastical corporation) [syn: mortmain, dead hand] 2: the oppressive influence of past events or decisions [syn: dead hand, dead hand of the past, mortmain]
Bouvier's Law Dictionary, Revised 6th Ed (1856):

MORTMAIN. An unlawful alienation of lands, or tenements to any corporation, sole or aggregate, ecclesiastical or temporal. These purchases having been chiefly made by religious houses, in consequence of which lands became perpetually inherent in one dead hand, this has occasioned the general appellation of mortmain to be applied to such alienations. 2 Bl. Com. 268; Co. Litt. 2 b; Ersk. Inst. B. 2, t. 4, s. 10; Barr. on the Stat. 27, 97. 2. Mortmain is also employed to designate all prohibitory laws, which limit, restrain, or annul gifts, grants, or devises of lands and other corporeal hereditaments to charitable uses. 2 Story, Eq. Jur. Sec. 1137, note 1. See Shelf. on Mortm. 2, 3.