[noun mous; verb mouz]

noun, plural mice [mahys] /maɪs/.

verb (used with object), moused, mous·ing.

to hunt out, as a cat hunts out mice.
Nautical. to secure with a mousing.

verb (used without object), moused, mous·ing.

Origin of mouse

before 900; Middle English mous (plural mis), Old English mūs (plural mȳs); cognate with German Maus, Old Norse mūs, Latin mūs, Greek mŷs
Related formsmouse·like, adjective
Can be confusedmice mousesmouse mousse Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for mouse

Contemporary Examples of mouse

Historical Examples of mouse

  • Lockwood continued to watch Duncan with the air of a cat eyeing a mouse.

    The Fortune Hunter

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • It is better to be torn to pieces at a spring, than to be a mouse at the caprice of such a cat.'

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

  • The mouse gnawed a hole in the chest, and fetched out the ring.

  • Then the cat carried the mouse to the house in which the chest stood.

  • That thing had me fooled; I thought at first it was a Russian mouse hound.

    Ruggles of Red Gap

    Harry Leon Wilson

British Dictionary definitions for mouse


noun (maʊs) plural mice (maɪs)

any of numerous small long-tailed rodents of the families Muridae and Cricetidae that are similar to but smaller than ratsSee also fieldmouse, harvest mouse, house mouse Related adjective: murine
any of various related rodents, such as the jumping mouse
a quiet, timid, or cowardly person
computing a hand-held device used to control the cursor movement and select computing functions without keying
slang a black eye
nautical another word for mousing

verb (maʊz)

to stalk and catch (mice)
(intr) to go about stealthily
(tr) nautical to secure (a hook) with mousing
Derived Formsmouselike, adjective

Word Origin for mouse

Old English mūs; compare Old Saxon mūs, German Maus, Old Norse mūs, Latin mūs, Greek mūs
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 mouse

Old English mus "small rodent," also "muscle of the arm," from Proto-Germanic *mus (cf. Old Norse, Old Frisian, Middle Dutch, Danish, Swedish mus, Dutch muis, German Maus "mouse"), from PIE *mus- (cf. Sanskrit mus "mouse, rat," Old Persian mush "mouse," Old Church Slavonic mysu, Latin mus, Lithuanian muse "mouse," Greek mys "mouse, muscle").

Plural form mice (Old English mys) shows effects of i-mutation. Contrasted with man (n.) from 1620s. Meaning "black eye" (or other discolored lump) is from 1842. Computer sense is from 1965, though applied to other things resembling a mouse in shape since 1750, mainly nautical.

Parturiunt montes, nascetur ridiculus mus [Horace]

"to hunt mice," mid-13c., from mouse (n.). Related: Moused; mousing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for mouse



Plural mice (mīs) or mouses

A hand-held input device that is moved about on a flat surface to direct the cursor on a computer screen. It also has buttons for activating computer functions. The underside of a mechanical mouse contains a rubber-coated ball that rotates as the mouse is moved; optical sensors detect the motion and move the screen pointer correspondingly. An optical mouse is cordless and uses reflections from an LED to track the mouse's movement over a special reflective mat which is marked with a grid that acts as a frame of reference.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Culture definitions for mouse


A common device that allows the user to reposition an arrow on their computer screen in order to activate desired applications. The term mouse comes from the appearance of the device, with the cord to the main computer being seen as a tail of sorts.


The user usually sends signals to the computer when the user depresses or “clicks” a switch. A number of slang terms, such as “click on X” or “click and drag” have arisen from the appearance of symbols on a screen when a mouse is used.
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.

Idioms and Phrases with mouse


see play cat and mouse; poor as a churchmouse; quiet as a mouse. Also see under mice.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.