Although you may dig a load of ore out of a mother lode, the spelling “motherload” is a mistake which is probably influenced by people thinking it means something like “the mother of all loads.” A “lode” was originally a stream of water, but by analogy it became a vein of metal ore. Miners of precious metals dream of finding a really rich vein, which they refer to as a “mother lode,” most often spelled as two words, though you also commonly see it spelled as one.
This is the tenth year of the Common Errors in English Usage calendar. To celebrate, we are bringing back some of our favorite interesting, funny, but sometimes merely silly entries through the years before going on hiatus in 2016.
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