poor as a church mouse

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Based on the earlier phrase "hungry as a church mouse", derived from the condemnation of letting any crumb of the sacrament, the bread which was understood to be Christ's body, fall to the ground.


(as) poor as a church mouse (not comparable)

  1. (simile) Very poor, to the point of starving or begging; utterly destitute.
    • 2009, September 23, Mark Gould, Former heroin addict inspires growing optimism from the wild side, The Guardian,
      I'm poor as a church mouse, but I wake up a happy man.
    • 1932, April 9, Isidor Schneider, Hard Luck Of Poets, The New York Times,
      "As poor as a poet" would be quite as comprehensible as "as poor as a church mouse."
    • 2008, John Beatty, The Citizen-Soldier, page 17
      She was an Eastern Virginia woman, and, although poor as a church mouse, thought herself superior to West Virginia people.
    • 1844, a Mouse (sic), Le Peuple Souriquois: An Historical Sketch, in The New Monthly Magazine and Humorist, vol. 71, pt. 2, page 428
      But to return to our public functions; that we have had a decided turn for the church appears from the fact that the church-mouse is a recognised order amongst us, and it is our just pride that we alone have preserved the genuine character of the institution as founded by the Apostles, inasmuch as our poverty has passed into a proverb— "as poor as a church-mouse."
    Synonyms: poor as a rat, poor as Job