dor·​mouse ˈdȯr-ˌmau̇s How to pronounce dormouse (audio)
plural dormice ˈdȯr-ˌmīs How to pronounce dormouse (audio)
: any of numerous small, nocturnal, furry-tailed Old World rodents (family Myoxidae synonym Gliridae) that live mainly in trees and resemble small squirrels

Note: Dormice hibernate during cold weather and may become torpid at other times of the year when food is scarce.

Did you know?

Any of 20 rodent species found throughout Eurasia and North Africa, dormice have large eyes, soft fur, rounded ears, and a hairy tail. They live in trees, bushes, and rock walls and in nests of plant material. They eat fruit, nuts, birds’ eggs, and some insects and small animals. Many species sleep for long periods, particularly in winter. The largest species, known as the edible dormouse, is gray and attains a maximum length of 8 in (20 cm), excluding the 6-in (15-cm) tail.

Examples of dormouse in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Edible dormouse in kitchen by Bertille de Fombelle (via Wikimedia Commons); dormouse stew by Bob Ramsak/piran café (via Flickr). Elizabeth Preston, Discover Magazine, 17 Nov. 2015 Today, the edible dormouse lives in forests across Europe, as well as in some cities. Elizabeth Preston, Discover Magazine, 17 Nov. 2015 By capturing and testing small mammals - like this crushingly adorable woodland dormouse - in neighboring agricultural and forested habitats in Tanzania, researchers have demonstrated that agricultural conversion has led to increases in the risk of plague to humans. Rebecca Kreston, Discover Magazine, 24 Feb. 2015 The edible dormouse is still hunted in Slovenia and Croatia. Elizabeth Preston, Discover Magazine, 17 Nov. 2015 The dormouse, of course, was the biggest of all the creatures. Sarah Schutte, National Review, 24 Oct. 2021 Their world seems like our own but then, when a dormouse is offered as a snack, becomes almost carnivalesque. James Romm, WSJ, 12 Mar. 2021 The edible dormouse is listed as threatened in all those countries. Jason Bittel, Animals, 28 Dec. 2020 Choose from a seven- or 11-piece collection, both of which include a tea pot, two or four cups with saucers, a creamer holder, and yes, a sugar bowl fit for a dormouse. Nicole Briese, USA TODAY, 13 Nov. 2020 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'dormouse.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English dormowse, perhaps from Anglo-French dormir + Middle English mous mouse

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of dormouse was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near dormouse

Cite this Entry

“Dormouse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


dor·​mouse ˈdȯ(ə)r-ˌmau̇s How to pronounce dormouse (audio)
plural dormice -ˌmīs How to pronounce dormouse (audio)
: any of numerous Old World rodents that resemble small squirrels

More from Merriam-Webster on dormouse

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!