mouse

Definitions

General English

General Science

  • noun a small hand-held input device moved on a flat surface to control the position of a cursor on a computer screen

Commerce

  • noun a small movable device attached to a personal computer and used to move or select items on the screen

Construction

  • A device with a piece of curved lead and string for pulling a sash cord over a pulley.

Electronics

  • A computer pointing device which when moved upon a surface also moves the cursor on the display screen, and which usually has two or more buttons used for selecting, performing functions, or the like. Some mice also have a scroll wheel, which further facilitates navigating through documents, Web pages, and so on. Most mice are either mechanical or optical, and some are cordless. A computer mouse looks more or less like its rodent counterpart, in that it has a compact body and a longish tail, while the moving and clicking of the former is analogous to the scurrying and nose-twitching of the latter, hence its name. Also called computer mouse.

Information & Library Science

  • noun a small hand device used to control the cursor on a computer screen

Origin & History of “mouse”

Mouse is an ancient word, with relatives today in all the Germanic and Slavic languages. Its Indo-European ancestor was *mūs-, which produced Greek mūs, Latin mūs (something of a dead end: the modern romance languages have abandoned it), Sanskrit mūs (source, via a very circuitous route, of English musk), and prehistoric Germanic *mūs-. this has evolved into German maus, Dutch muis, Swedish and Danish mus, and English mouse. And the Slavic branch of the ‘mouse’-family includes Russian mysh’, polish mysz, and Serbo-Croat mish. English relatives of mouse include muscle and mussel (ultimately the same word) and marmot (17th c.), which goes back to a vulgar Latin accusative form *mūrem montis ‘mouse of the mountain’.
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