Words related to mouse

muscle (n.)

"contractible animal tissue consisting of bundles of fibers," late 14c., "a muscle of the body," from Latin musculus "a muscle," literally "a little mouse," diminutive of mus "mouse" (see mouse (n.)).

So called because the shape and movement of some muscles (notably biceps) were thought to resemble mice. The analogy was made in Greek, too, where mys is both "mouse" and "muscle," and its combining form gives the medical prefix myo-. Compare also Old Church Slavonic mysi "mouse," mysica "arm;" German Maus "mouse; muscle," Arabic 'adalah "muscle," 'adal "field mouse;" Cornish logodenfer "calf of the leg," literally "mouse of the leg." In Middle English, lacerte, from the Latin word for "lizard," also was used as a word for a muscle.

Musclez & lacertez bene one selfe þing, Bot þe muscle is said to þe fourme of mouse & lacert to þe fourme of a lizard. [Guy de Chauliac, "Grande Chirurgie," c. 1425]

Hence muscular and mousy are relatives, and a Middle English word for "muscular" was lacertous, "lizardy." Figurative sense of "muscle, strength, brawn" is by 1850; that of "force, violence, threat of violence" is 1930, American English. Muscle car "hot rod" is from 1969.

mouser (n.)

"cat that hunts mice," mid-15c., agent noun from mouse (v.).

dormouse (n.)

long-tailed Old World rodent noted for its state of semi-hibernation in winter, early 15c., possibly from Anglo-French *dormouse "tending to be dormant" (from stem of dormir "to sleep," see dormant), with the second element mistaken for mouse; or perhaps it is from a Middle English dialectal compound of mouse (n.) and French dormir. French dormeuse, fem. of dormeur "sleeper" is attested only from 17c.

mice (n.)

plural of mouse (n.), from Old English mys. It shows effects of i-mutation.

A cube of cheese no larger than a die
May bait the trap to catch a nibbling mie.
mouse-hole (n.)

"very small hole where mice go in and out, a hole only big enough to admit a mouse," early 15c., from mouse (n.) + hole (n.).

mousetrap (n.)

"trap for catching mice," mid-15c., from mouse (n.) + trap (n.). Figurative use from 1570s. The thing is older than the word. Old English had musfealle ("mouse-fall," because the trap falls on the mouse); Middle English had mouscacche ("mouse-catch," late 14c.).

mousy (adj.)

"resembling a mouse," 1812 with reference to quietness; 1853, of color; from mouse (n.) + -y (2).

murine (adj.)

"resembling a mouse or rat," c. 1600, from Latin murinus "of a mouse," from mus "mouse" (see mouse (n.)).

mussel (n.)

"edible bivalve mollusk," Middle English muscle, from Old English muscle, musscel, from Late Latin muscula (source of Old French musle, Modern French moule, Middle Dutch mosscele, Dutch mossel, Old High German muscula, German Muschel), from Latin musculus "mussel," literally "little mouse," also "muscle;" like muscle, derived from mus "mouse" on the perceived similarity of size and shape (see mouse (n.)). The modern spelling, distinguishing the word from muscle, is recorded from c. 1600 but was not fully established until 1870s.

mustelid (n.)

"animal of the family of mammals that includes the weasels, badgers, skunks, and otters," 1910, from Modern Latin Mustelidae, taken as a genus name by Linnaeus (1758), from Latin mustela "weasel," which is possibly a diminutive form from mus "mouse" (see mouse (n.)), a theory accepted by de Vaan, who writes, "The use of the dim. for the weasel can be due to its small size compared with other similar animals (marten, polecat) or because it was domesticated and used as a pet animal." Tucker tentatively suggests *mus-ters-la "mouse harrier," and Klein notes that the weasel was identified in antiquity as "the catcher of mice."