creepmouse

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

creep +‎ mouse, from a likening of a person's character and/or behaviour to that of a small, timorous, and often unseen rodent.

Adjective[edit]

creepmouse (comparative more creepmouse, superlative most creepmouse)

  1. (mildly pejorative) Timid and unassuming in the extreme.
    • 1814, Jane Austen, Mansfield Park, Chapter XV:
      "Indeed but you must, for we cannot excuse you. It need not frighten you; it is a nothing of a part, a mere nothing, not above half a dozen speeches altogether, and it will not much signify if nobody hears a word you say, so you may be as creepmouse as you like, but we must have you to look at."
    • 1985, Jean Ure, After Thursday, Delacorte Press (1985), ISBN 9780385295482, page 161:
      Abe had been enjoying himself, without so much as a thought in his head as to how she was getting on; why shouldn't she have her turn? She was sick of being boring and creepmouse. While the cat was away the mice deserved to play — at least they did if that was how the cat was going to behave.
    • 1990, John McAleer, "Satirizing The Academy", Chicago Tribune, 18 November 1990:
      A box of manuscripts, buried with Ash by Ellen, his creepmouse widow, is opened; the lovers' final secrets are revealed. Ellen, we find, had never let Ash consummate their marriage.
    • For more examples of usage of this term, see Citations:creepmouse.

Noun[edit]

creepmouse (plural creepmice)

  1. (mildly pejorative) An extremely timid and unassuming person.
    • 1831, Catherine Gore, Mothers and Daughters, Volume II, E. L. Carey & A. Hart/Allen & Ticknor (1834), page 62:
      "Pho! pho ! — I do not believe a word of it. Lord Basingstoke is one of those shy young men who are very much attached to any one who will take the trouble of making love to them ; — one of those creepmice who run away with their mother's waiting-maid, or marry an actress for want of courage and patience to encounter the formalities of an honourable courtship. []
    • 1907, Florence Hayllar, Nepenthes, William Blackwood and Sons (1907), page 5:
      The knocking was repeated, — a very gentle knocking, which seemed to argue that the devil was in a polite and patient mood. I felt a little creepmouse myself as I heard it, but I got up, and leaving the quaking woman in the parlour, I went and opened the door.
    • 2009, Laurie Viera Rigler, Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict, Dutton (2009), ISBN 9780525950769, page 6:
      Don't be such a frightened little creepmouse. I take a deep breath, look at the feet again, and giggle.
    • For more examples of usage of this term, see Citations:creepmouse.