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mickey mouse

adjective, (often initial capital letters) Informal.
trite and commercially slick in character; corny:
mickey mouse music.
useless, insignificant, or worthless:
mickey mouse activities just to fill up one's time.
trivial or petty:
mickey mouse regulations.
Origin of mickey mouse
First recorded in 1930-35; after the animated cartoon character created by Walt Disney, orig. with reference to the banal dance-band music played as background to the cartoons Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for mickey mouse
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Historical Examples
  • It was covered in obscene doodles of mickey mouse with a huge erection, Minnie dangling from a noose.


    Cory Doctorow
British Dictionary definitions for mickey mouse

Mickey Mouse

adjective (sometimes not capitals) (slang)
ineffective; trivial; insignificant: he settled for a Mickey Mouse job instead of something challenging
(mainly US & Canadian) (of music, esp that of dance bands) mechanical or spiritless
Word Origin
C20: from the name of a cartoon character created by Walt Disney, known for his simple-minded attitudes
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 mickey mouse

Mickey Mouse

cartoon mouse character created 1928 by U.S. animator Walt Disney (1901-1966). As an adjective meaning "small and worthless" it dates from 1936, originally used especially of mediocre dance-band music, a put-down based on the type of tunes played as background in cartoon films.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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mickey mouse in Culture

Mickey Mouse definition

A cartoon character created by Walt Disney. Mickey's image is so widespread that he has achieved the status of myth.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for mickey mouse

Mickey Mouse

adjective phrase

  1. (also micky-mouse) Sentimental and insincere: A ''mickymouse band'' is a real corny outfit/ to the dead beat of mind-smothered Mickey Mouse music (1935+ Musicians)
  2. Showy; meretricious, merely cosmetic: And I don't think Mickey Mouse changes are going to work (1951+)
  3. Shoddy; inferior: The carpentry work was just Mickey Mouse (1960s+)
  4. Simple; elementary; easy: A ''Mickey Mouse course'' means a ''snap course'' (1950s+ Students)
  5. Petty; inconsequential: A Mickey Mouse survey of popular culture/ A lot of the Mickey Mouse stuff has been eliminated from the program/ got picked up on a Mickey Mouse thing in August by the State Patrol (1951+ Students)

noun phrase

  1. : It's hard to get past the mickey mouse and see what the hell they're driving at (1960s+)
  2. : That book's pure mickey mouse (1960s+)
  3. A blunder due to confusion and stupidity; screw-up: The only big Mickey Mouse was a brief shortage of jungle boots (1960s+ Armed forces)
  4. (also Mickey) A stupid person, esp a white person or a police officer (1970s+ Black)

verb phrase

To treat someone shabbily; ill-use someone; screw, shaft: ''I think we got Mickey Moused,'' Williams said. ''My best pitcher is washed right down the drain, and I don't like it'' (1980s+)

[apparently this pejorative trend began after the wide distribution of cheap Mickey Mouse wrist watches, showing the cartoon character on the face, with his arms as the watch's hands, which were regarded as shoddy, gimmicky, etc, at that time; the diminutive rodent continues to be extremely popular with children]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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