Motherlode meaning

(literally) The main, central lode of a natural resource, near which smaller deposits of the same ore etc. exist.

Once the Western mining company has exploited a motherlode with state of the art equipment, it often abandons the minor lodes to primitive local enterprise.

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(figuratively) The main prize, best cut or pick etc. by far, dwarfing all others.

Luckily the philistine castle-burglars missed the motherlode: his lordship's historical memorabilia collection.

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Origin of motherlode