Mither is a verb that never really made it to America, and is slowly falling into disuse in England. It has different meanings depending on where you are. In most of England it means to pester or irritate someone, most often used when describing annoying children. In Northern England it means to moan and fuss. In both of these cases the word is pronounced with a long 'i'; 'maither' (IPA: /'maɪðəɹ/).

In Scots it is a completely different word, pronounced with a short 'i'; mither (/ˈmɪðəɹ/). In this case it is a noun, used alternatively to mean 'mother', 'origin', 'source', and is used in a number of idioms, from the straightforward mither's bairn (a spoiled child) to the oblique mither's caridge (the Shorter Catechism). It is perhaps best known to English speakers from the scenic Mither Tap (Mother Top), one of the more impressive peaks of the Bennachie.

Brevity Quest 2016

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