Last night I heard the word moider for the first time and was slightly puzzled by what it meant. From the context – a friend was talking about moidering around with his mates – I guessed it meant to mess/muck about, and I wondered whether it’s related to the word mither, which is used in Cheshire, Lancashire and perhaps elsewhere and means ‘to bother’, e.g. stop mithering me!.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, mither /ˈmʌɪðə/ is a dialect word, used mainly in Northern English meaning:

1. to make a fuss; moan: oh men — don’t they mither?
2. to pester or irritate (someone).

Etymology: dates from late 17th century and is of unknown origin; perhaps related to the Welsh moedrodd (to worry, bother). Other possibile origins are the Welsh words meidda (to beg for whey) or meiddio (to dare) [source].

I can’t find any other references to moedrodd, but Y Geiriadur Mawr has mwydro, and variants moedro and moidro, which mean ‘to bewilder’.

Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary defines moider as ‘to toil’.

The World English Dictionary defines moither or moider (ˈmɔɪðə, ˈmɔɪdə) as:

1. to bother or bewilder
2. to talk in a rambling or confused manner

The Century Dictionary defines moider as:

1. To confuse; perplex; distract; bewilder.
2. To spend in labor.
3. To labor hard; toil.

Have you heard of moider or mither before?

This entry was posted in English, Etymology, Language, Welsh, Words and phrases.

11 Responses to Moider

  1. Andrew says:

    I think your friend made up a word 😛

  2. Yenlit says:

    Lots of the dictionary definitions for moider/moither seem the same as the old verb ‘to moil’?

  3. kevin says:

    Sounds to me like a variation of “moither”, a word which my mother (from the S. Shropshire / Welsh border area) used to use to admonish us kids for whingeing or generally being a pest.

  4. kevin says:

    “Stop moithering (me)” I meant to add as an example of usage.

  5. Macsen says:

    I’ve heard Welsh-speakers in the Bangor area beginning their sentence with the intention of saying ‘paid â mwydro’ (which means something similar to ‘don’t go on/talk nonsense/being confused).

    They then realise they don’t know the English equivalent of to ‘mwydro’ but have already begun the sentence and so have to finish it. They end up adapting ‘mwydro’ to something similar to ‘moider / you’re moidering’.

  6. Jim Morrison says:

    Stop mithering me (to mean ‘stop bothering me’) is used in Coventry by my mum.

  7. Philip says:

    My mother aged 91, brought up in North Wales, has often told me that she is feeling ‘moidered’ when she is bothered or distracted and a headache is coming on. Used among younger people in North Wales too.

  8. Laura says:

    Yep ‘moither’ and ‘mither’ are both very common in N. Wales!

  9. Lee says:

    Being born and brought up in N Wales and living many years in Lancashire I am well aware of the word moider (was just not sure of the spelling, which is how I ended up here, I also use the word mither for the same purpose, although would use moider for ‘stop bothering me’ and mither for ‘stop fussing’. although Steven Gerard used the word ‘mither’ in his trail to describe he get’s a lot of people bothering him.

  10. matthew says:

    Both words are in common use in Wigan still…

  11. James says:

    Moider is the correct term, but Mither is frequently used. Wigan? That’s in Manchester isn’t it?

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