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Fother is an old unit originally a cart-load (of hay, turf, wood, etc.), but through transference became a measurement for a quantity of lead. It was defined in different ways at different places and times, being about equal to a ton or somewhat more.[1][2]


The word is separately used for covering a leak in a ship with a sail containing rope fibres, to prevent it from sinking after being damaged. This was the technique used to help to refloat HMS Endeavour after she went aground on the Great Barrier Reef on 11 June 1770.[3][4]

Later, and more efficiently, a sail closely thrummed with yarns was used.[5]


  1. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, Second Edition 1989 "fother, n. 1"
  2. ^ fother,, Retrieved 22 July 2009
  3. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, Second Edition 1989 "fother, 3"
  4. ^ Banks, Joseph. "Banks' Journal: 12 June 1770". National Library of Australia. Retrieved 3 October 2008. 
  5. ^ The Oxford Companion to Ships and the Sea, edited by Peter Kemp