dor·​mouse | \ˈdȯr-ˌmau̇s \
plural dormice\-​ˌmīs \

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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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

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, "This Echolocating Dormouse Could Reveal the Origins of One of Nature’s Coolest Superpowers," 23 Mar. 2017 No doubt there is somewhere a Hatter holding a tea party with a dormouse. Henry Porter,, "Is the Special Relationship Over?," 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, "Alice in Wonderland," 20 July 2017 In fact, Typhlomys has a cousin, the Malabar spiny dormouse, that is also known for its poor eyesight and nocturnal, tree-climbing prowess. Jason Bittel, Smithsonian, "This Echolocating Dormouse Could Reveal the Origins of One of Nature’s Coolest Superpowers," 23 Mar. 2017

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.

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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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Time Traveler for dormouse

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

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More Definitions for dormouse



English Language Learners Definition of dormouse

: a European animal that looks like a small squirrel


dor·​mouse | \ˈdȯr-ˌmau̇s \
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

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More from Merriam-Webster on dormouse

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dormouse

Spanish Central: Translation of dormouse

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

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living or existing for a long time

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