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) [1900s–60s] a small, very feminine girl who invites being cuddled.
(f) [1900s–60s] a woman.
(g) [1930s–80s] (US Und.) an effeminate male homosexual; thus a fellator.
(h) [1940s+] a weakling.
(i) [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].
[late 16C–mid-17C] a womanizer, a wencher.
[late 19C] to get a black eye.
SE in slang uses
[1970s+] (US) a fool.
[19C] the vagina.
[1990s+] (US) a tampon.
[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.
see drunk as a rat adj.
1. to do anything undemanding and simple.
2. to undertake a task requiring deviousness and patience.
3. to be mean.
[mid-16C–late 17C] a mild excl.