Green’s Dictionary of Slang

mouse n.

1. as a female, or representative of female characteristics [there is no discernible link between senses 1a and 1e].

(a) [mid-16C–late 18C] a woman, esp. when applied to a prostitute or a woman arrested for brawling in the street.

(b) [late 17C] a timid or effeminate man.

(c) [19C] (US black) one’s wife; thus mousetrap n. (1), marriage.

(d) [late 19C] the vagina.

(e) [late 19C+] a mistress; a girlfriend.

(f) [1900s–60s] a small, very feminine girl who invites being cuddled.

(g) [1900s–60s] a woman.

(h) [1930s–80s] (US Und.) an effeminate male homosexual; thus a fellator.

(i) [1940s+] a weakling.

(j) [1950s] (Aus.) in pl., the girls who accompany the Aus. variety of Teddy Boy.

2. [19C] the penis [its penetration of narrow spaces; note dial. mouldiwarp].

3. [mid-19C+] (also mousie) a black eye [supposed resemblance].

4. [late 19C–1900s] a barrister, a solicitor.

5. [late 19C+] (UK Und.) an informer [play on rat n.1 ].

6. [1920s+] (Aus.) a man who does not consummate his marriage on the wedding night [? f. phr. ‘are you a man or a mouse?’].

7. [1940s] (US black) a pocket [ety. unknown; ? abbr. SE mouse-hole].

In compounds

mouse-hunt (n.)

[late 16C–mid-17C] a womanizer, a wencher.

In phrases

cop a mouse (v.)

[late 19C] to get a black eye.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

mousebrain (n.)

[1970s+] (US) a fool.

mousehole (n.)

[19C] the vagina.

mouse mattress (n.)

[1990s+] (US) a tampon.

mouse potato (n.) [SE mouse + var. on couch potato under couch n.]

[2000s] (orig. US) one who spends what is seen as an excessive time using their computer, usu. in the context of the Internet.


see separate entries.

In phrases

mind mice at a/the crossroads (v.) [20C+] (Irish)

1. to do anything undemanding and simple.

2. to undertake a task requiring deviousness and patience.

3. to be mean.

In exclamations

by the mouse-foot!

[mid-16C–late 17C] a mild excl.