From flitter + mouse (compare flickermouse, flindermouse), after Middle Dutch fleddermuys, vledermuys, vlermuys (Modern Dutch vleermuis), from Middle Dutch vledderen, vlederen (“to flutter, float, hover”) + muys (“mouse”). Cognate with West Frisian flearmûs (“bat”), Middle Low German vledermūs (“bat”), German Fledermaus (“bat”), Swedish fladdermus (“bat”) and flädermus (“bat”). More at flitter, flutter, flatter, mouse.
flittermouse (plural flittermice)
- (now chiefly dialectal) A bat; a reremouse; flindermouse.
1891, Conway Lloyd Morgan, Animal sketches:
- I thank thee, gentle flittermouse, for these so pleasant memories. Have you ever caught and examined a flittermouse?