Printable Version
Pronunciation: mi-dhêr Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb

Meaning: 1. (Intransitive) To babble, to ramble on, to whine, as 'to mither on about something'. 2. (Transitive) To bother, confuse, pester, worry, irritate, as 'to stop mithering me about cleaning up me room'. 3. (Transitive) To encumber, burden: 'to be mithered in mud'.

Notes: As you can see from the meanings of this word, speakers aren't quite sure of its meaning. Well, they aren't sure of its pronunciation, either. Mither is a variant of moither, which is a variant of moider. This is a Gaelic word still creeping into the dialects of northern and midland English.

In Play: In the sense of "ramble on", maybe even "to whine", we might encounter something like this: "No need to go mithering on about the political situation." In the sense of "confuse", I think you might read something like this: "Methinks your mind might be a bit mithered by the alcohol." I love the latest quote for moider in the Oxford English dictionary taken from the Lakeland dialect: "Sum hoo er anuther ah gat mesell raither moidert aboot th' date."

Word History: The ultimate origin of today's Good word is uncertain. It would seem to have been borrowed from Irish modartha "dark, murky, morose", descendant of early Irish modarda "sullen, sad". Welsh mwydro, moedro "to bewilder, perplex" may have been another source, adding to the semantic confusion. However, the origin of both these words has been lost in murk of history. (Let's not mither about and forget to thank Iain Smallwood for suggesting such a lexical oddity for today's Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword,

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