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Can the word mither - a regional word that I have come across more and more recently - be used as a noun?

I understand that it isn't listed as a noun in dictionaries, but my husband uses it as a noun and I am trying to make sure that it grammatical features allow that.


Added from comments:

I have looked at 'mithering' which means to bother. The context that it is used in my region is

'you'll be in mither if you do not stop what you're doing'.

I have seen the definition for mother and the OED lists a few senses such as the one mentioned. Some are adjectives, transitives etc. The sense that I'm using it in seems to be a noun, does it?


@MartinSmith offered this example:

Steven Gerrard trial: what does 'mither' mean?

Steven Gerrard told the court he had suffered "a lot of mither" during his career as a professional footballer, meaning he is frequently bothered by others.

(From The Telegraph, 24 July 2009)


OP: The Steven Gerrard example is the same context as I am using it. He is from Liverpool and I'm just down the road in Manchester.

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    Since hardly anyone knows what it means I'd say you can use it however you want. – Hot Licks Dec 13 '15 at 0:08
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    Hello, amanda. What research have you done? In looking for a delexical usage, 'had a mither' returns only 4 Google hits, and these are for the dialect form of 'mother'. – Edwin Ashworth Dec 13 '15 at 0:09
  • Here's one example of it being used as a noun telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/liverpool/5895227/… – Martin Smith Dec 13 '15 at 0:16
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    I have looked at 'mithering' which means to bother. The context that it is used in my region is 'you'll be in mither if you do not stop what you're doing'. I have seen the definition for mother and the OED lists a few senses such as the one mentioned. Some are adjectives, transitives ect. The sense that I'm using it in seems to be a noun, does it? – amanda Dec 13 '15 at 0:16
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    The Steven Gerrard example is the same context as I am using it. He is from Liverpool and I'm just down the road in Manchester. This context does seem to be regional. Thank you – amanda Dec 13 '15 at 0:18
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The OED has an entry for the verb mither as a variant of moider.

The chief meaning of the latter is:

  1. trans. To confuse, perplex, bewilder; to exhaust, overcome, stupefy; (occas.) to pester (cf. mither v. 2). Chiefly refl. or in pass.

But another important meaning is:

  1. intr. To be delirious, to babble; to wander about aimlessly, ramble. (cf. mither v. 3). Also fig.

It is reckoned to be of Irish/Manx origin, and the first example the OED gives is from 1587.

The link provided by @Martin Smith is to an article in the Daily Telegraph which quotes Steve Gerrard, at his 2009 trial, saying he had received a lot of mither (i.e. using it as a noun) - presumably 'a lot of pester and burden from people'. Since Gerrard is a Skouser it may well be a word widely used and understood in Liverpool, a city with a vast Irish influence.

  • My geography isn't the best, is Oldham a North-west region? – amanda Dec 13 '15 at 0:37
  • A regional word that I have come across more and more recently and I was wondering if it can be used as a noun? In what context would you like to use it - it is not a word that a huge percentage of the English-speaking population would likely know. – Cargill Dec 13 '15 at 1:05
  • @Cargill It is not a word with which I am intimately familiar; though I have some recollection of having heard it. The OED describes it only as a verb. I am not a northerner though I have in the last fifteen years spent a good deal of time in Manchester, where my daughter was, until recently, living. I have not heard it in Manchester. My guess is that it is Liverpool argot. Liverpool speech is quite different to Manchester's, and the rest of Lancashire's, with a huge Irish component. And Gerrard is a Skouser to the soles of his very talented feet. – WS2 Dec 13 '15 at 8:31
  • So if I had the phrase 'you'll be in mither if you don't stop' mither being used as a noun, would stop be a verb and you'll the subject ? – amanda Dec 13 '15 at 21:04
  • @Amanda As I explained, the OED does not list it as a noun, only as a verb. But that Telegraph article quoted Steve Gerrard as saying he had received a lot of mither. So you decide. You may need to learn some basic rules on parsing. I would strongly recommend you go to the English Language Learners site. – WS2 Dec 13 '15 at 21:13
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More as an adjective than as a noun perhaps?

So for example in fairly widespread Irish vernacular of English, you could refer to a mithered person.

I cannot comment on the Manx origin posited above, but can confirm Irish common usage and likely origin. Liverpool as a historic port city, has a huge Irish diaspora, particularly from the middle 1800s, when many of the arriving emigres came from Gaelic speaking districts.

Refs craicing-the-irish-language-code, hidden-dublin.com/sayings, Words We Use: The Meaning of Words And Where They Come From By Diarmaid Ó Muirithe

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