One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A mouse which lives in a church. Also figurative and allusive: a person likened to such a mouse (in terms of its proverbial attributes), especially in being impoverished or quiet.
Mid 16th century. From church + mouse. Compare German Kirchenmaus, Kirchmaus.
church mouse/ˈtʃəːtʃ maʊs/
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