A small dormouse on a tree branch.
Origin of dormouseMiddle English dormous uncertain or unknown; perhaps altered by folk etymology (after mous, mouse) ; from Old French dormeuse, sleepy, sluggish ; from dormir: see dormant
Origin of dormouseMiddle English, perhaps alteration (influenced by mous, mouse) of Anglo-Norman *dormeus, inclined to sleep, hibernating, from Old French dormir, to sleep; see dormant.
- Any of several species of small, mostly European rodents of the family Gliridae; also called Myoxidae or Muscardinidae by some taxonomists.
- (UK) Muscardinus avellanarius, the hazel dormouse.
- (figuratively) A person who sleeps a great deal, or who falls asleep readily (by analogy with the sound hibernation of the dormouse).
The word is sometimes considered to come from an Anglo-Norman derivative of Old French dormir (“to sleep”), but no such Anglo-Norman word is known to have existed.