Definition of dormouse in US English:



  • An agile mouse-like rodent with a hairy or bushy tail, found in Africa and Eurasia. Some kinds are noted for spending long periods in hibernation.

    Family Myoxidae: several genera and species, including the common (or hazel) dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius) and the fat dormouse (Myoxus glis)

    • ‘She gazed at the absence of light coming through the string-like curtains on the exterior wall like an anxious dormouse who's been too long in hibernation.’
    • ‘The study found that while some species, including hedgehogs, voles, shrews, dormice and hares, are generally declining in rural areas, their populations are rising in towns, cities and suburbs.’
    • ‘The development, he maintains, would also threaten the presence of wildlife including yellowhammers, badgers and dormice.’
    • ‘As I sat there, a dormouse scuttled right out from under my boots: I'd disturbed its lunch, and there was a clutter of precision-punctured hazelnut shells among the leaf litter.’
    • ‘In the fall of 1998, the trees were cut down while the dormice hibernated.’
    • ‘A huge decline in the number of Britain's native mammals - such as the water vole and dormouse - has led to the launch of a new organisation which is seeking the support of animal - lovers to help to save our furry friends.’
    • ‘And come to think of it most of the victims I have seen being carried home as trophies by cats have been birds, dormice and voles.’
    • ‘It has several cousins on the continent, including the edible dormouse, the garden dormouse and the forest dormouse.’
    • ‘Squirrels, badgers, dormice, and larger animals such as deer are greedy for it.’
    • ‘The garden dormouse is notorious for finding its way into vehicles.’
    • ‘After a good autumn feed-up, snails, bats, butterflies, snakes, ladybirds, dormice and others find somewhere they hope will remain undisturbed and usually dry.’
    • ‘It's precious for wildlife too, sheltering dormice, water voles, bats, and innumerable birds including barn owls.’
    • ‘Foxes, rabbits, harvest mice, house mice, dormice, shrews, weasels, and voles all depend on the hedgerows as a place to breed, hunt or shelter.’
    • ‘The last grey hour between twilight and darkness came, when squirrels vanished into their nests, and birds dwindled into silence, while bats, dormice and fallow deer emerged from their daytime shelter.’
    • ‘Invariably, the poor creature went off to hunt the small rodents that infested the forest floor: rabbits, dormice, and the like.’
    • ‘Rabbits are running rampant, dormice numbers are dwindling and otters are on the increase.’
    • ‘Suburban householders report large numbers of hedgehogs, voles, shrews, dormice and hares.’
    • ‘I have heard rabbits, foxes, and dormice drumming.’
    • ‘Ok, read me the story about the dormouse now.’
    • ‘That's all the prompting the matronly dormouse needed.’


Late Middle English: of unknown origin, but associated with French dormir or Latin dormire ‘to sleep’ and mouse.