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  1. any of several small mouselike or ratlike rodents of the genus Microtus and related genera, having short limbs and a short tail.

Origin of vole1

1795–1805; short for volemouse field mouse, perhaps < Norwegian *vollmus, equivalent to voll field (cf. wold1) + mus mouse


  1. Cards. the winning by one player of all the tricks of a deal.
  1. go the vole,
    1. to venture everything on the chance of great rewards.
    2. to try one after another, as a variety of occupations: He went the vole and finally settled on watchmaking.

Origin of vole2

1670–80; < French, derivative of voler to fly < Latin volāre
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for vole

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • For a long time the vole, not daring to move, remained in the shadow.

  • Fascinated, the vole stayed awhile to look at the hovering hawk.

  • From the signs that were fresh the vole learned the story of field-life for the day.

  • As he is the weaker, the Vole is obliged to submit to this vexatious tax.

  • Small as he was, and crouching as only a vole can crouch, there was no escape from contact with it.

British Dictionary definitions for vole


  1. any of numerous small rodents of the genus Microtus and related genera, mostly of Eurasia and North America and having a stocky body, short tail, and inconspicuous ears: family CricetidaeSee also water vole

Word Origin

C19: short for volemouse, from Old Norse vollr field + mus mouse; related to Icelandic vollarmus


  1. (in some card games, such as écarté) the taking of all the tricks in a deal, thus scoring extra points

Word Origin

C17: from French, from voler to fly, from Latin volāre
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

Word Origin and History for vole


1805, volemouse, literally "field-mouse," with first element probably from Old Norse völlr "field," from Proto-Germanic *walthuz (cf. Icelandic völlr, Swedish vall "field," Old English weald; see wold).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper