tit·​mouse ˈtit-ˌmau̇s How to pronounce titmouse (audio)
plural titmice ˈtit-ˌmīs How to pronounce titmouse (audio)
: any of several small North American oscine birds (genus Baeolophus of the family Paridae) that are related to the chickadees, have small bills and usually long tails, and have been sometimes placed especially formerly in a related genus (Parus)

Examples of titmouse in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The tufted titmouse, for example, which makes some 63 vocalizations and learns them throughout its life, performed problem-solving tasks more quickly than the brown-headed cowbird, which learns about nine vocalizations during one specific period, writes Science News’ Darren Incorvaia. Sarah Kuta, Smithsonian Magazine, 19 Sep. 2023 On an average morning, Susan Glass can sit on the patio at her condominium complex in Saratoga, Calif., and identify as many as 15 different bird species by ear: a steller’s jay, an acorn woodpecker, an oak titmouse. Alexandra Marvar, New York Times, 3 Aug. 2023 For instance, Sandifer said, abruptly eradicating the green ash also threatens the Eastern swallowtail butterfly, one of the most beautiful in the state, as well as a variety of woodpeckers that hammer the trees’ alligator-like bark and birds such as the tufted titmouse that nest in its cavities. Sharon Grigsby, Dallas News, 29 Jan. 2021 Resident birds include the Mexican jay, bridled titmouse and Montezuma quail. Roger Naylor, The Arizona Republic, 21 Mar. 2022 Binoculars mean the difference between seeing a little gray bird and identifying a titmouse, cheering a home run and seeing the epic catch, or realizing that the 10-point buck is actually a doe standing in front of dead branches. Scott Gilbertson, WIRED, 22 Aug. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'titmouse.' 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 titemose, tetmose "tit (European bird of the family Paridae)," from tite-, tet-, probably of expressive origin + mose "any of various small Eurasian songbirds of the family Paridae," going back to Old English māse, going back to Germanic *maisōn- (whence also Old Saxon mēsa "tit," Middle Dutch mese, Old High German meisa, Icelandic -meisa), of uncertain origin

Note: The Middle English word was reshaped by folk etymology in early Modern English after mouse entry 1. The word tit was used (and is still used regionally in Britain) for a small horse, a girl or young woman, and a boy. — The Germanic etymon occurs with a suffix in Old Icelandic meisingr "tit" and the Frankish (Old Low Franconian) word behind Old French mesange "tit," Modern French mésange.

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of titmouse was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near titmouse

Cite this Entry

“Titmouse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/titmouse. Accessed 22 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


tit·​mouse ˈtit-ˌmau̇s How to pronounce titmouse (audio)
plural titmice -ˌmīs How to pronounce titmouse (audio)
: any of several small North American songbirds that usually have small bills and long tails, feed on insects, and are related to the chickadees

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