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From Middle English morgage and Middle French mortgage, from Anglo-Norman morgage, from Old French mort gage (dead pledge), after a translation of judicial Medieval Latin mortuum wadium, with wadium from Frankish *wadi (wager, pledge). Compare gage and also wage. So called because rents and profits from the land were owed to the lender for as long as the gage existed (comparable to interest on a loan today), as opposed to the living gage, in which rents and profits automatically reduced the debt (paying it off over time).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈmɔː.ɡɪd͡ʒ/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈmɔɹ.ɡɪd͡ʒ/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɔː(ɹ)ɡɪd͡ʒ
  • Hyphenation: mort‧gage


mortgage (countable and uncountable, 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 terms[edit]


  • Mongolian: моргейж (morgejž)



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, or a shop
    We mortgaged our house in order to start a company.
  2. (transitive, figurative) 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 terms[edit]