One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Any of several Eurasian rodents of the family Muridae inhabiting rocky areas; specifically †(a) a rodent occurring in Siberia (not identified) (obsolete); (b) the broad-toothed field mouse, Apodemus mystacinus, a large grey mouse of south-eastern Europe and western Asia (rare).
2Any of various African rodents inhabiting rocky areas; specifically (a) = rock rat; (b) = rock rat; (c) any of several small nocturnal mice constituting the genus Petromyscus (family Muridae or Nesomyidae).
3Any of several American deer mice of the genus Peromyscus (family Muridae or Cricetidae).
Late 18th century. From rock + mouse.
rock mouse/ˈrɒk maʊs/
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