• synonyms


noun, plural dor·mice [dawr-mahys] /ˈdɔrˌmaɪs/.
  1. any small, furry-tailed, Old World rodent of the family Gliridae, resembling small squirrels in appearance and habits.
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Origin of dormouse

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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for dormice

Historical Examples

  • And to tell the truth, it was not often he got a chance of petting his big brother's dormice.

    The Adventures of Herr Baby

    Mrs. Molesworth

  • Zelinda and her father were so weary that they slept like dormice all night.

    Italian Popular Tales

    Thomas Frederick Crane

  • Youre the one who makes them sick, making them sleep like dormice.

  • The gardener assured me it was the dormice which eat it all.

  • Hedgehogs and dormice and butterflies and sandboys, all in a breath.

    The House That Grew

    Mrs. Molesworth

British Dictionary definitions for dormice


noun plural -mice
  1. any small Old World rodent of the family Gliridae, esp the Eurasian Muscardinus avellanarius, resembling a mouse with a furry tail
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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

Word Origin and History for dormice



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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper