Last edited 07 Mar 2021

Mortise vs mortice

Both mortise and mortice are acceptable spellings of the same word in the UK and US. The term is based on the concept of carving out a space to form a strong link between the two pieces.

In carpentry, stonemasonry and ironworking, the word mortise (or mortice) is associated with the term tenon to form a mortise and tenon joint. Generally, mortise is the spelling most commonly used in the UK for carpentry.

The lintels at Stonehenge are secured by stone mortise and tenon joints.

In security, a mortice (or mortise) lock is a type of lock that is installed in doors, furniture or other objects that require a strong form of protection. Generally, mortice is the spelling most commonly used in the UK for security.

A common lever-type mortice lock in the UK.

Both spellings can be either nouns (as described in mortise joints and mortice locks); they are also used as a verb (to “mortice” or “mortise”), meaning to join.

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