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From Anglo-Norman morgage, Middle French mortgage, from Old French mort gage (death pledge), after a translation of judicial Medieval Latin mortuum vadium or mortuum wadium, from mortuum + vadium or wadium, of Germanic (Frankish) origin, from a root *waddi, wadja. Compare gage and also wage. So called because the deal dies either when the debt is paid or when payment fails.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈmɔː.ɡɪdʒ/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈmɔɹ.ɡɪdʒ/
  • (file)


mortgage (plural mortgages)

  1. (law) A special form of secured loan where the purpose of the loan must be specified to the lender, to purchase assets that must be fixed (not movable) property, such as a house or piece of farm land. The assets are registered as the legal property of the borrower but the lender can seize them and dispose of them if they are not satisfied with the manner in which the repayment of the loan is conducted by the borrower. Once the loan is fully repaid, the lender loses this right of seizure and the assets are then deemed to be unencumbered.
    We're renting a property in the city centre because we can't afford to get a mortgage yet.
  2. (obsolete) State of being pledged.
    lands given in mortgage

Derived termsEdit



mortgage (third-person singular simple present mortgages, present participle mortgaging, simple past and past participle mortgaged)

  1. (transitive, law) To borrow against a property, to obtain a loan for another purpose by giving away the right of seizure to the lender over a fixed property such as a house or piece of land; to pledge a property in order to get a loan.
    to mortgage a property, an estate, a shop
    We mortgaged our house in order to start a company.
  2. (transitive, figuratively) To pledge and make liable; to make subject to obligation; to achieve an immediate result by paying for it in the long term.
    • 1982, Verne Moberg, The Truth and Work of Victoria Benedictsson, page 72:
      She mortgaged her future for the pleasures of the relationship with the sculptor, a relationship she knew would be short.
    • 2001, Antony Rowland, Tony Harrison and the Holocaust, page 193:
      Like a latter-day Faustus who has mortgaged his soul to the pursuit of his art, Harrison now desperately craves the paternal love from which his learning has estranged him.

Related termsEdit