Humans or Humanity, as opposed to races of gods, demons, fairies, or other beings with elongated lifespans.

The word mortal is, of course, derived from the name Mort -- which is the same name as that gawky adolescent turned Grim Reaper. Why we were mortal before Terry Pratchett came long is still a mystery.

Alan Warner used the term mortal to describe someone who is drunk in his book Morvern Callar. Here is an example:
"We were all is hysterics at that then Panatine materialized with the whiskey.... a good lot more ceilidhing went on and we were all mortal as newts."

In other words, if you are mortal and you drink you get drunk. So his characters ask each other, "Are you mortal?" - or are you drunk? I guess if you were immortal and you drank you would not get drunk.

Warner is a Scotsman, so this may simply be common slang. However, he is also fond of neologisms so I am not sure.

By the way, if you are fond of Irvine Welsh, you would probably like Alan Warner too.

Mor"tal (?), a. [F. mortel, L. mortalis, from mors, mortis, death, fr. moriri 8die; akin to E. murder. See Murder, and cf. Filemot, Mere a lake, Mortgage.]

1.

Subject to death; destined to die; as, man is mortal.

2.

Destructive to life; causing or occasioning death; terminating life; exposing to or deserving death; deadly; as, a mortal wound; a mortal sin.

3.

Fatally vulnerable; vital.

Last of all, against himself he turns his sword, but missing the mortal place, with his poniard finishes the work. Milton.

4.

Of or pertaining to the time of death.

Safe in the hand of one disposing Power, Or in the natal or the mortal hour. Pope.

5.

Affecting as if with power to kill; deathly.

The nymph grew pale, and in a mortal fright. Dryden.

6.

Human; belonging to man, who is mortal; as, mortal wit or knowledge; mortal power.

The voice of God To mortal ear is dreadful. Milton.

7.

Very painful or tedious; wearisome; as, a sermon lasting two mortal hours.

[Colloq.]

Sir W. Scott.

Mortal foe, Mortal enemy, an inveterate, desperate, or implacable enemy; a foe bent on one's destruction.

 

© Webster 1913.


Mor"tal, n.

A being subject to death; a human being; man.

"Warn poor mortals left behind."

Tickell.

 

© Webster 1913.

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