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mickey mouse

adjective (often initial capital letters) Informal.
  1. trite and commercially slick in character; corny: mickey mouse music.
  2. useless, insignificant, or worthless: mickey mouse activities just to fill up one's time.
  3. trivial or petty: mickey mouse regulations.
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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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

chintzy, shoddy, tacky, glitzy, rinky-dink

British Dictionary definitions for mickey mouse

Mickey Mouse

adjective (sometimes not capitals) slang
  1. ineffective; trivial; insignificanthe settled for a Mickey Mouse job instead of something challenging
  2. mainly US and Canadian (of music, esp that of dance bands) mechanical or spiritless
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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

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

mickey mouse in Culture

Mickey Mouse

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

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.