One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A wasting disease of sheep; specifically liver rot (hepatic fascioliasis) and cobalt deficiency.
Early 19th century. From Shetland Scots mu, mø, in the same sense (from the unattested Norn reflexes of the early Scandinavian words represented respectively by Old Icelandic móðr and moeði) + sickness; compare Norwegian modsott, Danish modsot sickness characterized by a feeling of exhaustion.
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