Definition of mouse in English:



  • 1A small rodent that typically has a pointed snout, relatively large ears and eyes, and a long tail.

    • ‘Experiments revealed the same cells that have also been discovered in rats, gophers, gerbils, mice, and hamsters.’
    • ‘Within eight weeks the handful of rodents had become 60 mice and 12 rats - and the owner had no choice but to call the RSPCA.’
    • ‘As with most small cat species, the diet of wild cats, or domestic cats, is mainly made up of small rodents, such as mice and rats.’
    • ‘The scientists will then take a small piece of tissue from the tail tip of the mice to examine the structure of the genome.’
    • ‘Not only humans and monkeys but also mice and rats show large individual differences in terms of voluntary ethanol intake.’
    • ‘Their principle source of food is mice, but squirrels, snowshoe hares, and pikas are also popular.’
    • ‘In gerbils, hamsters and mice, the urine contains allergens.’
    • ‘While most of us are all too willing to cuddle guinea pigs, rabbits, gerbils, pet mice and even ferrets, brown rats produce a reaction of almost universal revulsion.’
    • ‘I'll hold the mouse up by its tail like this while it grips onto the cage with its front legs.’
    • ‘If you see any mice, rodents or other potential carriers of those dangerous fleas, kill them immediately.’
    • ‘Most people are familiar with mice, rats, hamsters, and guinea pigs, which are commonly kept as pets.’
    • ‘Despite their resemblance to rodents, bats are not closely related to mice at all.’
    • ‘Other animals such as horses, rats, mice, rabbits, guinea pigs and birds can also trigger allergies.’
    • ‘The most common bird of prey is the kestrel, which feeds chiefly on rodents such as mice and voles but will occasionally take small birds, beetles, small frogs, etc.’
    • ‘They play a very important role in controlling the populations of destructive rodents such as mice and rats, their preferred and primary food items.’
    • ‘These fledgling wild barn owls wait in their man-made nest box for their parents to deliver a meal of mice or other rodents.’
    • ‘Small mammals, especially rodents such as voles, pocket gophers, and mice make up most of the Great Gray Owl's diet.’
    • ‘Small rodents, such as hamsters, squirrels, chipmunks, mice, and rabbits, do not typically carry rabies.’
    • ‘In the primate line, humans and macaques were compared; in the rodent line, mice and rats were compared.’
    • ‘Some ermine appropriate the burrows of mice or ground squirrels and adapt them for their own use.’
    • ‘Other animals found nearby included two extinct species of vole - a small rodent resembling a mouse - that were used to date the site.’
    • ‘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.’
    1. 1.1(in general use) any small mammal similar to a mouse, such as a shrew or vole.
    2. 1.2A shy, timid, and quiet person.
      • ‘If you are a quiet mouse you can never become a social butterfly.’
      • ‘Renziehausen is a quiet, meek mouse of a soldier with no backbone, and York's performance suggests these qualities very nicely.’
      • ‘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.’
  • 2A dull light brown color reminiscent of a mouse's fur.

    ‘her blonde hair dulled to mouse’
    • ‘She has long mouse brown hair, and dark brown eyes.’
    • ‘Instead of a massive head of frizzy mouse brown hair I have smooth, sleek, shoulder length chocolate brown locks.’
    • ‘Her mouse brown hair was pulled into a neat bun, and she was in good heavy traveling clothes.’
    • ‘He would mock my fair and pale skin, my lank mouse brown hair, and how extremely thin I was.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Her mouse brown hair hung in soft, smooth strands.’
    • ‘They all looked to the passengers getting off the plane, and spotted a short girl with mouse brown hair and wearing a pink top and white jean shorts.’
    • ‘The wind whipped waist-length mouse brown hair around her face and made it hard for her to see.’
    • ‘He opened the door to see a woman, or young woman at least, with mouse brown hair and vibrant green eyes standing before him.’
    • ‘Her long, thin, mouse brown hair flowed down her back, wispy strands sticking out at odd angles.’
    • ‘It had large round eyes, a small round body with ample mouse-coloured fur, and it dodged very actively in and out among the freshly fallen rock debris.’
    • ‘As if on cue, a girl with shoulder-length mouse brown hair walked right by him, those ever-cautious eyes lost in some daydream.’
    • ‘So while other girls were bobbed and waved, I had my mouse-coloured hair scragged back into a thick pigtail which made my compulsorily worn school hat ride up at the back.’
    • ‘She seemed to be rather plain, a rather dim little person with mouse-coloured hair and conventional manners.’
    • ‘The girl nodded and brushed the loose strands of mouse brown hair from her face.’
    • ‘He watched her climb, a hat on her head covering her long mouse brown hair.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘With a gleeful smile, she began to play absent-mindedly with a strand of her mouse brown hair that had strayed free of its bun.’
  • 3A small handheld device that is dragged across a flat surface to move the cursor on a computer screen, typically having buttons that are pressed to control functions.

    • ‘When I move the mouse, the screen comes to life, offering me a choice between Staff Login and Internet Explorer.’
    • ‘I think that ergonomic mouses place more of a strain on my hand than well-designed symmetrical ones, because the former type force me to keep my hand in the same position on the mouse by the very shape of it.’
    • ‘When moving the mouse or pressing the buttons or keys, it prints information about the action.’
    • ‘Most people use a computer by moving a mouse, which directs a cursor around on the machine's screen.’
    • ‘He reached past me and moved the mouse taking the screen saver off.’
    • ‘Most Web browsers change the mouse cursor when the mouse is over a clickable target.’
    • ‘To move your mouse cursor using a touch pad, you simply glide your finger along the touch pad's surface.’
    • ‘At the show, Tatung is showcasing plasma and liquid-crystal displays, MP3 players, high performance blade servers, tablet PCs and wireless mouses.’
    • ‘Move your mouse over the menu button on the lower right icon and ancillary menu functions will scroll up.’
    • ‘The company has also recently moved into the optical mouse sector.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Optical mouses, while still a big improvement over older trackball models, often get confused on patterned surfaces and do not work well on metal or glossy tabletops.’
    • ‘If you don't see a toolbar in the upper-right corner, either move your mouse across the screen or hit the TAB key.’
    • ‘Researchers at the Occupational Health and Safety Research Institute in Montreal asked more than 25 volunteers to switch their mouses to the left side of their computer for a month.’
    • ‘Finally the computer screen flickered to life. She moved the mouse around and clicked the Internet icon.’
    • ‘I blinked and moved the mouse around the computer screen, clicking on the Internet icon.’
    • ‘In most cases, if you point to the icon for your antivirus and click the right mouse button, a menu will pop up with an update option.’
    • ‘It's accomplished by clicking two buttons and moving the mouse up, down, or sideways.’
    • ‘The icon box can be resized by holding down the ALT key and clicking the middle mouse button - not intuitive, but easy enough once you know what to do.’
    • ‘She moved the mouse on her computer and waited while the screensaver disappeared and her work popped back up on the screen.’
    • ‘Drivers are judged by how quickly they spot the danger and click their computer mouse.’
    • ‘You have to click the computer mouse when you spot one.’
    • ‘I sat down at the computer, moved the mouse and opened a browser and typed in my hacker's URL.’
  • 4informal A lump or bruise, especially one on or near the eye.


  • 1(of a cat or owl) hunt for or catch mice.

    • ‘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.’
    1. 1.1[with adverbial]Prowl around as if searching.
      ‘he was mousing among the books of the old library’
  • 2[with adverbial of direction] Use a mouse to move a cursor on a computer screen.

    ‘simply mouse over any item in the list’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘On a mobile device, usability is key when there is so little time or functionality for fiddling with menus, pop-ups or mousing around.’
    • ‘By utilising this code in your HTML file any unvisited links will be displayed in pink, any links being clicked will be red, any visited links will display in gray and any links moused over will display in yellow and be underlined.’
    • ‘Icon X completes the experience by allowing you to add drop shadows, behaviours and color changes to your icons when you mouse over them.’
    • ‘I had come to this conclusion independently just mousing around the net.’
    • ‘By mousing over the picture in the layout screen, a little yellow help pop-up lets you know that you can click on the picture once to enter the editing menu.’
    • ‘It appears that there are Javascript errors when you mouse over the pop-up links.’
    • ‘For the eye, it doesn't matter if the action happens when I mouse over or after I click.’


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 more common, and the first recorded use of the term in the plural (1984) is mice


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.