dor·​mouse | \ ˈdȯr-ˌmau̇s How to pronounce dormouse (audio) \
plural dormice\ ˈdȯr-​ˌmīs How to pronounce dormouse (audio) \

Definition of dormouse

: 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.

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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 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 Research has also revealed strange delicacies — such as dormouse, which would have been stuffed with pork and served as a starter — as well as the remnants of Mediterranean diet stalwarts: olives, nuts, figs, dates, lentils. Meara Sharma, New York Times, 24 Dec. 2019 Typhlomys, also known as the soft-furred tree mouse or Chinese pygmy dormouse, is around three inches long and sports a white-tufted tail longer than its body. Jason Bittel, Smithsonian, 23 Mar. 2017 No doubt there is somewhere a Hatter holding a tea party with a dormouse. Henry Porter,, 1 Feb. 2017 Australian model Duckie Thot stars as Alice, alongside Adwoa Aboah as Tweedledee and Lupita Nyong’o as a dormouse. Sarah Spellings, The Cut, 20 July 2017 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dormouse.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of dormouse

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for dormouse

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

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

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Dictionary Entries Near dormouse

dormitory town


dormouse opossum

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Cite this Entry

“Dormouse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for dormouse


dor·​mouse | \ ˈdȯr-ˌmau̇s How to pronounce dormouse (audio) \
plural dormice\ -​ˌmīs \

Kids Definition of dormouse

: a small European animal that resembles a mouse but has a bushy tail, lives mostly in trees, and is active at night

More from Merriam-Webster on dormouse

Nglish: Translation of dormouse for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about dormouse


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