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"Mother Lode"

Posted by Smokey Stoverf on April 20, 2006

In Reply to: "Mother Lode" posted by ESC on April 20, 2006

: : Hi. Does anyone know what the phrase "Mother Lode" stands for and means? I have never heard of it before and just saw it in a magazine article.

: : Thanks

: Merriam-Webster:

: Main Entry: mother lode
: Function: noun
: 1 : the principal vein or lode of a region
: 2 : a principal source or supply

: Main Entry: lode
: Pronunciation: 'lOd
: Function: noun
: Etymology: Middle English, from Old English lAd course, support; akin to Old English lIthan to go -- more at LEAD
: 1 dialect English : WATERWAY
: 2 : an ore deposit
: 3 : something that resembles a lode : an abundant store

In movies about the American West in the days of prospecting for gold and silver, the prospectors often talk about finding the mother lode, as opposed to the itty-bitty daughter lodes (narrower derivative veins of ore). In the movies it's just a device, a motivation. Those days, incidentally, largely coincide with cowboy times, and you sometimes find the prospectors and the cowboys in the same movies, although only sometimes did the cowboys and the prospectors actually share the same habitat. SS