Definition of mouse in English:

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Pronunciation: /maʊs/

noun (plural mice /mʌɪs/)

1A small rodent that typically has a pointed snout, relatively large ears and eyes, and a long tail.
  • Family Muridae: many genera and numerous species. Also, some species in the families Heteromyidae, Zapodidae, and Muscardinidae.
Example sentences
  • Experiments revealed the same cells that have also been discovered in rats, gophers, gerbils, mice, and hamsters.
  • He says that, unlike rats and mice, the rodents give birth to only one offspring at a time, so a precautionary approach should be taken toward their conservation.
  • They play a very important role in controlling the populations of destructive rodents such as mice and rats, their preferred and primary food items.
1.1(In general use) any small mammal similar to a mouse, such as a shrew or vole.
1.2A shy, timid, and quiet person: Jane may be a bit of a mouse, but she is very nosy
More example sentences
  • The Warren brothers snickered, amused by the sight of their strict teacher suddenly turned into a timid mouse.
  • It was Emma, the quiet mouse from the lunch table who, lately, had been looking slimmer and more awake than usual.
  • If you are a quiet mouse you can never become a social butterfly.
1.3 [mass noun] A dull light brown colour reminiscent of a mouse’s fur: her flaxen hair dulled to mouse
More example sentences
  • The red accented her usually dull brown eyes and contrasted nicely with her normally mouse-brown hair, also bringing out natural blush in her cheeks.
  • As if on cue, a girl with shoulder-length mouse brown hair walked right by him, those ever-cautious eyes lost in some daydream.
  • The teacher came in, a somewhat large, dimple-faced woman with mouse brown hair tied in a neat bun and sharp glasses perched on the tip of her nose.
2 (plural mice or mouses) A small handheld device which is moved across a mat or flat surface to move the cursor on a computer screen: copy the file with a click of the mouse [as modifier]: the right mouse button
More example sentences
  • I blinked and moved the mouse around the computer screen, clicking on the Internet icon.
  • That's right - there was no need to reach for cursor keys, function keys or a mouse to move the cursor or execute a command.
  • Most people use a computer by moving a mouse, which directs a cursor around on the machine's screen.
3 informal A lump or bruise on or near the eye: she touched the mouse under her eye


Pronunciation: /maʊz/
[no object]
1(Of a cat or owl) hunt for or catch mice: female cats are usually much better at mousing than males
More example sentences
  • I'm not sure what the cats will make of them - that field is Faber's main area for mousing and Sorley seems to go in there quite a bit too.
2 [with adverbial of direction] Use a mouse to move or position a cursor on a computer screen: simply mouse over any item on the list
More example sentences
  • Many navigation schemes use cascading menus: The top or side of the page lists choices that, when moused over or clicked on, open successive levels of submenus.
  • Clicking on or mousing over a category reveals the links it contains.
  • To be honest, I think it had more to do with mousing around my screen than dragging myself up and down a swimming pool, but either way it's probably just as well I never made it back there this evening.


Is the plural of mouse in the computing sense mice or mouses? People often feel that this sense needs its own distinctive plural, but in fact the ordinary plural mice is commoner, and the first recorded use of the term in the plural (1984) is mice.



Example sentences
  • The flowers do not bloom until nightfall, when they emit a mouse-like odour, and bats visit them for nectar and pollen.
  • This mouse-like animal flies at night and sleeps in the day by hanging from the branches of trees.
  • Participants were asked to move a computer mouse-like device (hereafter called stylus) from different starting positions shown on the computer screen, and to immobilize it on a target also shown on the computer screen.


Old English mūs, (plural) mȳs, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch muis and German Maus, from an Indo-European root shared by Latin and Greek mus.

  • English mouse, Dutch muis, and German Maus share their ancient ancestor with Latin and Greek mus. The essential meaning of the word, that of a small rodent, has remained unchanged. See also muscle. The shared initial m sound, as well as differences of size and character, has prompted contrasts with man. A person might mock another's timidity by asking, ‘Are you a man or a mouse?’ Robert Burns's poem To a Mouse reminded people in 1786, as it does today, that ‘The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men, Gang aft agley’ (‘often go awry’). John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, published in 1937, told the story of two farm labourers, one of huge strength but low intelligence, the other who both exploited and protected the first. The computer mouse appeared in the 1960s and was so called from its small size and cord suggesting the tail. A person who spent most of their time sitting using a computer or surfing the internet got the name mouse potato in the 1990s, in imitation of couch potato ( see couch). People began setting mousetraps in the 15th century: before that the usual word was mousefall, still used in Scots dialect. The phrase a better mousetrap, ‘an improved version of a well-known article’, comes from an observation attributed to the US philosopher and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson in 1889, though it is also claimed by Elbert Hubbard: ‘If a man write a better book, preach a better sermon, or make a better mousetrap than his neighbour, tho’ he build his house in the woods, the world will make a beaten path to his door.’ Agatha Christie took The Mousetrap as the title for her most successful play, a murder mystery premiered in London in 1952, and still going strong as the longest continuously running play of all time. She took the title from Hamlet's mockingly named play by the same title with which he traps his uncle.

Words that rhyme with mouse

douse, dowse, Gauss, grouse, house, Klaus, louse, Manaus, nous, Rouse, souse, spouse, Strauss

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: mouse

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