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[dawr-mous] /ˈdɔrˌmaʊs/
noun, plural dormice
[dawr-mahys] /ˈdɔrˌmaɪs/ (Show IPA)
any small, furry-tailed, Old World rodent of the family Gliridae, resembling small squirrels in appearance and habits.
Origin of dormouse
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English dormowse, dormoise; etymology obscure; perhaps AF derivative of Old French dormir to sleep (see dormant), with final syllable reanalyzed as mouse, but no such AF word is known Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for dormouse
Historical Examples
  • His hands seemed too small to catch anything, even a dormouse.

    The Adventures of Herr Baby

    Mrs. Molesworth
  • "Well, there's a good deal of the dormouse in Lucy," Vera said.

    Love and Lucy

    Maurice Henry Hewlett
  • At this time the dormouse was the largest animal in the world.

    The Indian Fairy Book Cornelius Mathews
  • The dormouse had felt it coming, and had discreetly retired.

    "Wee Tim'rous Beasties" Douglas English
  • The second hazel on the left,” said the dormouse; “the third hollow from the top.

    "Wee Tim'rous Beasties" Douglas English
  • It was the orange-tip, and the dormouse rejoiced, for the orange-tip meant spring.

    "Wee Tim'rous Beasties" Douglas English
  • So is the dormouse tail; but the hairs along it do more than merely part.

    "Wee Tim'rous Beasties" Douglas English
  • "Well, I can't see why he objects to being a dormouse," said the Righthandiron.

    Andiron Tales John Kendrick Bangs
  • If I'll be a dormouse will you take me off on your good time with you?

    Andiron Tales John Kendrick Bangs
  • What good does it do you or me or anybody else for me to admit that I am a dormouse, for instance?

    Andiron Tales John Kendrick Bangs
British Dictionary definitions for dormouse


noun (pl) -mice
any small Old World rodent of the family Gliridae, esp the Eurasian Muscardinus avellanarius, resembling a mouse with a furry tail
Word Origin
C15: dor-, perhaps from Old French dormir to sleep, from Latin dormīre + mouse
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for dormouse

early 15c., possibly from Anglo-French *dormouse "tending to be dormant" (from stem of dormir "to sleep," see dormer), with the second element mistaken for mouse; or perhaps it is from a Middle English dialectal compound of mouse and Middle French dormir. The rodent is inactive in winter. French dormeuse, fem. of dormeur "sleeper" is attested only from 17c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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