Last modified on 7 March 2015, at 22:44




From Middle English, from Old English fōdor, from Proto-Germanic *fōdrą (compare West Frisian foer, Dutch voer 'pasture, fodder', German Futter 'feed', Danish and Swedish foder), from *fōdô 'food', from Proto-Indo-European *pat- 'to feed', *peh₂- (to guard, graze, feed). More at food.



fodder (countable and uncountable, plural fodders)

  1. Food for animals; that which is fed to cattle, horses, and sheep, such as hay, cornstalks, vegetables, etc.
    • 1598?, William Shakespeare, Two Gentlemen of Verona,Act I, scene I:
      The sheep for fodder follow the shepherd, the shepherd for food follows not the sheep.
  2. A weight by which lead and some other metals were formerly sold, in England, varying from 19 1/2 to 24 cwt (993 to 1222 kg).; a fother.
    • 1866, James Edwin Thorold Rogers, A History of Agriculture and Prices in England, Volume 1, p. 168:
      Now measured by the old hundred, that is, 108 lbs. the charrus contains nearly 19 1/2 hundreds, that is it corresponds to the fodder, or fother, of modern times.
  3. (slang, drafting, design) Tracing paper.
  4. (figuratively) Something which serves as inspiration or encouragement, especially for satire or humour.
  5. (cryptic crosswords) The text to be operated on (anagrammed, etc.) within a clue.
    • 2009, "Colin Blackburn", another 1-off cryptic clue. (on newsgroup rec.puzzles.crosswords)
      In (part of) Shelley's poem Ozymandias is a "crumbling statue". If this is the explanation then the clue is not a reverse cryptic in the same was[sic] as GEGS -> SCRAMBLED EGGS but a normal clue where where the fodder and anagrind are *both* indirect.
    • 2012, David Astle, Puzzled: Secrets and clues from a life in words
      Insane Roman! (4) [] Look in -sane Roman and you'll uncover NERO, the insane Roman. Dovetailing the signpost — in — with the hidden foddersane Roman — is inspired, an embedded style of signposting.


Derived termsEdit



fodder (third-person singular simple present fodders, present participle foddering, simple past and past participle foddered)

  1. (dialect) To feed animals (with fodder).