noun, plural dor·mice [dawr-mahys] /ˈdɔrˌmaɪs/.

any small, furry-tailed, Old World rodent of the family Gliridae, resembling small squirrels in appearance and habits.

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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for dormouse

Historical Examples of dormouse

  • For the next few weeks I mean to be quiet as a dormouse, and two pages of Latin a day will keep me pretty busy.

    Brenda's Ward

    Helen Leah Reed

  • "She looks as if she'd gone to bed before the winter, and had a long sleep, like a dormouse," said Cecilia.

    The Eustace Diamonds

    Anthony Trollope

  • The third outdoor man was Thomas Price, generally known as the Dormouse on account of his somnolent manner of working.

  • The first dormouse that I can remember was one called Mouffette.

  • The Tahsildar is divested of his magisterial powers, and to the law-abiding and punctual is not more harmful than the dormouse.

British Dictionary definitions for dormouse


noun plural -mice

any small Old World rodent of the family Gliridae, esp the Eurasian Muscardinus avellanarius, resembling a mouse with a furry tail

Word Origin for dormouse

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 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