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) a woman, esp. when applied to a prostitute or a woman arrested for brawling in the street.

[UK]Nice Wanton Aii: ismael: Spyn, quod ha, yea by the mass, and your heles up wynd, For a good mouse hunt, is cat after kyng. barnabas: Lewd speakyng corrupteth good maners.
[UK]Trial of Treasure E: My mouse my nobs and cony swete My hope and ioye my whole delight.
[UK]Lyly Mother Bombie IV ii: God saue you pretty mouse.
[UK]Beaumont & Fletcher Knight of the Burning Pestle I ii: wife: Stay... till I question my husband. cit.: What is it mouse?
[UK]W. Haughton English-Men For My Money I 2: I tell thee Mouse, I knew a Wench as nice.
[UK]T. Heywood Love’s Mistress IV i: Venus, sweet mouse, nay prithee do not chide.
[UK]R. King Modern London Spy 38: Men taken up for assaults or night-brawls were termed Rats, and the harlots or women [...] were there [prison] called Mice, and at locking up hours, crammed into a hole.

(b) a timid or effeminate man.

[UK]Dryden Juvenal VI 106: Into the Fair with Women mixt, he went, Arm’d with a huge two-handed Instrument; A grateful Present to those holy Quires, Where the Mouse guilty of his Sex retires.

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

[US]D. Dalby ‘The African Element in American English’ in Kochman Rappin’ and Stylin’ Out 183: mouse, in sense of ‘(attractive) girl, young woman; girl friend, wife’.

(d) the vagina.

[UK] ‘The Horrible Fright’ Pearl 2 Aug. 32: He treats your poor innocent mouse like a rat / That’s touzled and claw’d, and devour’d by a cat.

(e) a mistress; a girlfriend.

[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 22 Nov. 15/2: There’s old uncle Bill Tovee, watching with delight somebody’s ‘chicken’ and some one’s ‘mouse’ slogging each other on the stage.

(f) a small, very feminine girl who invites being cuddled.

[UK]Boy’s Own Paper 19 Jan. 242: What a pretty little consequential mouse was Mattie.
[US]J.H. O’Hara Pal Joey 2: I heard about this spot through a little mouse I got to know.
[US]B. Schulberg Harder They Fall (1971) 194: The little mouse who was his for the evening screamed and he broke surface.
[UK]G. Melly Owning Up (1974) 213: ‘Mouse’ as an expression for a girl had been widespread in the mid-fifties.

(g) a woman.

[UK]D. Cotsford Society Snapshots 113: Sir Startin Price (chaffingly) What? Jealous? Lady de Handicap (scornfully) Of that? Sir Startin Price(chidingly) Foolish Mouse.
[US]N.Y. World 4 Feb. 1: She’s a cunning little mouse [...] It was a whale of a party .
[US]S. Sterling ‘Ten Carats of Lead’ in Black Mask Stories (2010) 235/1: Up in the Marsh mouse’s furnished room, I find a very gaudy piece of jewelry.
[US]J. Evans Halo in Blood (1988) 133: He told me he was running around with a hot little mouse named Leona Sandmark.
[US]M. Spillane Long Wait (1954) 28: You’re a nice little mouse and all that, but you’re strictly the kind of sex I can’t afford to have around right now.
D. Hamilton Murderer’s Row n.p.: ‘A mouse I’ve never seen before saves me from the cops and asks me to a conference in a hotel room.’ [...] ‘What’s a mouse, Jim?’ ‘Don’t act dumb. A mouse is a broad.’.
[US]D. Dalby ‘The African Element in American English’ in Kochman Rappin’ and Stylin’ Out 183: mouse, in sense of ‘(attractive) girl, young woman; girl friend, wife’.

(h) (US Und.) an effeminate male homosexual; thus a fellator.

[US](con. 1905–25) E.H. Sutherland Professional Thief (1956) 239: Mouse – Extortion in connection with homosexual attempts; a homosexual person.
[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 138: mouse 1. (dated, fr hetero sl mouse = flaccid penis + comparison of homosexuals with timid mice) cocksucker, he nibbles at another’s crotch.
[UK]J. Morton Lowspeak.
[US](con. early 1950s) J. Ellroy L.A. Confidential 431: Guy who makes his living playing a mouse has gotta be capable of anything.

(i) a weakling.

[US]S. McBarron ‘Coffin Custodian’ Ten Detective Aces Apr. [Internet] My thumb waggled at Richter again. ‘As I said, this mouse wants to buy said criminal findings from me.’.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US]Baker et al. CUSS 159: Mouse A small or insignificant person.
[US]D. Jenkins Semi-Tough 37: Shithouse mouse, we’ll have their dog-asses on Sunday!
[Aus]M.B. ‘Chopper’ Read Chopper From The Inside 79: The mainstream criminal population [...] are nothing but weak-gutted mice.

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

[Aus]Baker Aus. Speaks.

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

[UK] ‘The Mouse Trap’ Flash Chaunter 30: One mouse at a time is sufficient for me.
[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.
[US]Maledicta IV:2 (Winter) 191: Thus the mouse goes into the mousehole, the carrot is used to tempt the cunny-warren, the kennel-raker rakes the kennel.

3. (also mousie) a black eye [supposed resemblance].

[UK]Egan Bk of Sports 44: The left eye of Gaynor was touched a little. ‘Look,’ said Sam, ‘at the mouse!’.
[UK]Era (London) 18 July 6/2: Eden showed a mouse under the eye.
[UK]‘Cuthbert Bede’ Adventures of Mr Verdant Green (1982) II 166: While to another he would say, as a fact not to be disputed [...] ‘That’ll raise a tidy mouse on your ogle, my lad!’.
[US]O.W. Holmes Professor at the Breakfast Table 253: Mouse is a technical term for a bluish, oblong, rounded elevation occasioned by running one’s forehead or eyebrow against another’s knuckles.
[UK] in G.D. Atkin House Scraps (1887) 54: His ‘dexter ogle’ has a ‘mouse’; His conk’s devoid of bark.
[Aus]Dead Bird (Sydney) 1 Feb. 5/3: He’d a mouse on his eye and a nick on his chin.
[UK]Sporting Times 28 Feb. 7/5: A brace of mice or mouses / In the next bout he wore.
[UK]Hartlepool Mail 26 Feb. 6/4: Mouse, a contused eye.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 10 Mar. 24/2: No harm resulted; not the faintest indication of the ruby showed, nor was the slightest trace of a ‘mouse’ visible.
[US]Van Loan ‘On Account of a Lady’ Taking the Count 143: Whitey had a mouse under his left eye. Sammy had a lump on his jaw.
[US](con. 1918) L. Nason Top Kick 7: Who put him the mouse on his eye?
[US](con. 1900s) C.W. Willemse Behind The Green Lights 78: I looked at the mouse forming under one eye but lied like a gentleman.
[US]S. McBarron ‘Coffin Custodian’ Ten Detective Aces Apr. [Internet] There was a welt on her cheek, a purple mouse under her left eye.
[US]R. Graziano Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956) 130: I come home with a mouse hung over one eye.
[US]P. Rabe Murder Me for Nickels (2004) 83: The bartender had a mouse under one eye.
[US]J. Charyn Marilyn The Wild (2003) 42: Brian’s knuckles mashed against her cheekbone. She had little mousies under her eyes.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett White Shoes 251: A bit of a fat lip [and] a small mouse under each eye.
[US]N. Green Angel of Montague Street (2004) 98: Sean had a mouse under one eye.
[US](con. 1954) ‘Jack Tunney’ Tomato Can Comeback [ebook] By round six Hollis had a mouse over his right eye where Tom had dished out constant punishment.

4. a barrister, a solicitor.

[UK]Partridge DSUE (1984) 758: ca. 1888–1910.

5. (UK Und.) an informer [play on rat n.1 ].

[US]N. Gould Double Event 223: ‘He’s turned mouse, has he?’ said an ill-looking man. [...] ‘He’s turned us over.’.
[US]B. Dai Opium Addiction in Chicago.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 142/1: Mouse, n. An informer.
[US]J. Scarne Complete Guide to Gambling.
[UK](con. 1950s–60s) in G. Tremlett Little Legs 195: mouse an informer.

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

[UK]Partridge DSUE (8th edn) 561/1: A man who ‘does it the first night’ is a ‘man’. One who does not is a ‘mouse’ and one who has already done it is a ‘rat’ (a valued correspondent): Aus.: since ca. 1920.

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

[US]Cab Calloway New Hepsters Dict. in Calloway (1976) 258: mouse (n.): pocket. Ex., ‘I’ve got a meter in the mouse.’.
[US] ‘Jiver’s Bible’ in D. Burley Orig. Hbk of Harlem Jive.

In compounds

mouse-hunt (n.)

a womanizer, a wencher.

[UK]Shakespeare Romeo and Juliet IV iv: Ay, you have been a mouse-hunt in your time, But I will watch you from such watching now.

In phrases

cop a mouse (v.)

to get a black eye.

[UK]J. Ware Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era 91/2: Cop a mouse (Artisans’). Get a black eye. Cop in this sense is to catch or suffer, while the colour of the obligation at its worst suggests the colour and size of the innocent animal named.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

mousebrain (n.)

(US) a fool.

[US]T. Thackrey Thief 259: The clout had done mouse-brain some good.
W. Pini Portrait of Love [cartoon bk] 25: He’ll be mad as hell if you do, mousebrain.
mousehole (n.)

the vagina.

[US]Maledicta IV:2 (Winter) 191: Thus the mouse goes into the mousehole, the carrot is used to tempt the cunny-warren, the kennel-raker rakes the kennel.
mouse mattress (n.)

(US) a tampon.

[US]J. Randall ‘A Visit from Aunt Rose’ in Verbatim Winter n.p.: Tampons [...] have their own euphemisms: mouse mattresses, the white horse, manhole cover, coyote sandwich, saddle blankets, teddy bears, and the industry-sanctioned [...] feminine supplies.
mouse potato (n.) [SE mouse + var. on couch potato under couch n.]

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

[US]Hope College ‘Dict. of New Terms’ [Internet] mouse potato n. A person who spends too much time surfing the internet. Found in Experience Magazine, September 1999.
[US]N.Y. Times 27 June n.p.: As couch potatoes become ‘mouse potatoes,’ as teenagers become ‘screenagers,’ the once lowly geek has become a cultural icon, studied by the fashionistas of Seventh Avenue and the Nasdaq watchers of Wall Street alike.

see separate entries.

In phrases

mind mice at a/the crossroads (v.) (Irish)

1. to do anything undemanding and simple.

[Ire]Share Slanguage.

2. to undertake a task requiring deviousness and patience.

[Ire]‘Flann O’Brien’ ‘This P.E.N.’ in Hair of the Dogma (1989) 171: The majority of the members of the Irish parliament are professional politicians, in the sense that otherwise they would not be given jobs minding mice at a crossroads.
[Ire]C. Brown Down All the Days 187: Not far from the wrong side of the border. You could always tell by their canny little ways, famous for the minding of mice at the crossroads.
[Ire]Irish Times 7 Oct. n.p.: The modern spin doctor is [...] a combination of ‘cute hoor’ and master strategist, someone who can mind mice at the crossroads and write an election manifesto at the same time [BS].

3. to be mean. 18 May [Internet] His folks are loaded and i mean properties let out here and abroad and full time jobs still, but would mind mice at the cross roads. At times they would embarras [sic] us at how tight they are.

In exclamations

by the mouse-foot!

a mild excl.

Worthye Enterlude of Kyng Daryus (1860) 7: By the mouse foote I charge you to appere.
[UK]Misogonus in Farmer (1906) III i: By th’ mouse foot! do so, master.
[UK]Shakespeare London Prodigal C: Ile come and visit you, by the mouse-foot I will.
F.G. Waldron King in Country I 8: I hope that’s well spoken; for, by the mouse-foot, some give him hard words.