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See also: foþer



From Middle English fother, fothir, from Old Norse fóðr (cognate to Old English fōdor), from Proto-Germanic *fōdrą (compare Dutch voer (pasture, fodder), German Futter (feed), Swedish foder). Doublet of fodder and foeder. More at food.



fother (countable and uncountable, plural fothers)

  1. (historical) A load, a wagonload, especially any various English units of weight or volume based upon standardized cartloads of certain commodities.
    • 1774-75, Act 14 Geo. III in Brand, Newcastle (1789) I, page 652:
      Four fother of clod lime, and fifteen fothers of good manure, on each acre.
    • 1813, “Misc.”, in Ann. Reg., 507/2:
      20 fothers of additional thickness in clay were thrown in.
    • 1840, Tyne songster, The Tyne songster, a choice selection of songs in the Newcastle dialect, page 211:
      Where the brass hez a' cum fra nebody can tell, / Some says yen thing and some says another - / But whe ever lent Grainger't aw knaw very well, / That they mun have at least had a fother.
    • 1866, James Edwin Thorold Rogers, A History of Agriculture and Prices in England, volume 1, page 168:
      Now measured by the old hundred, that is, 108 lbs. the charrus contains nearly 19½ hundreds, that is it corresponds to the fodder, or fother, of modern times.
  2. (dialect) Alternative form of fodder, food for animals.




fother (third-person singular simple present fothers, present participle fothering, simple past and past participle fothered)

  1. (dialect) To feed animals (with fother).
  2. (dated, nautical) To stop a leak with oakum or old rope (often by drawing a sail under the hull).



Middle English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]


From Old Norse fóðr, from Proto-Germanic *fōdrą. Doublet of fodder.



fother (plural fothres)

  1. wagonload (that which fits in a wagon)
  2. a wildly inconsistent measure of weight primarily used for lead.
  3. a great quantity, especially a load or of people.


  • English: fother
  • Scots: fother