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.

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. 2018

Examples from the Web for dormouse

Historical Examples of dormouse

  • His hands seemed too small to catch anything, even a dormouse.

  • "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

  • It was the orange-tip, and the dormouse rejoiced, for the orange-tip meant spring.

  • The second hazel on the left,” said the dormouse; “the third hollow from the top.

British Dictionary definitions for dormouse


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

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