small, active bird, early 14c., titmose, from tit (n.2), expressing something small, + Old English mase "titmouse," from Proto-Germanic *maison (source also of Dutch mees, German meise), from adj. *maisa- "little, tiny." Spelling influenced 16c. by unrelated mouse, "when mose had long been obsolete as an independent word" [OED]. The proper plural is titmouses.
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