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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English dormous, of uncertain origin. Possibly from a dialectal *dor-, from Old Norse dár (benumbed) + mous (mouse). More at doze, mouse.

The word is sometimes conjectured to come from an Anglo-Norman derivative of Old French dormir (to sleep) (as *dormouse (tending to be dormant), with second element mistaken for mouse), but no such Anglo-Norman term is known to have existed.[1]



dormouse (plural dormice)

  1. Any of several species of small, mostly European rodents of the family Gliridae; also called Myoxidae or Muscardinidae by some taxonomists.
    • 1837, George Sand, Stanley Young, transl., Mauprat[1], Cassandra Editions, published 1977, →ISBN, page 237:
      For a long time the dormouse and polecat had seemed to him overfeeble enemies for his restless valour, even as the granary floor seemed to afford too narrow a field. Every day he read the papers of the previous day in the servants' hall of the houses he visited, and it appeared to him that this war in America, which was hailed as the awakening of the spirit of liberty and justice in the New World, ought to produce a revolution in France.
    • 2021 November 17, Andrew Mourant, “Okehampton: a new dawn for Dartmoor”, in RAIL, number 944, page 41:
      Restoration such as this must work around wildlife habitats, and NR came to discover that almost the entire line was a haven for dormice.
  2. Glis glis, the edible dormouse
  3. (UK) Muscardinus avellanarius, the hazel dormouse.
  4. (figuratively) A person who sleeps a great deal, or who falls asleep readily (by analogy with the sound hibernation of the dormouse).

Derived terms[edit]



  1. ^ Random House Dictionary, dormouse.