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Computer mouses or mice?

(23 Posts)
MardyBra Wed 10-Oct-12 18:01:49

So I went to buy a new mouse today. When I couldn't find what I wanted I asked the adolescent man in the shop and he took me to the section where the "mouses" were displayed.

It's not really something I've thought about before (not ever having had to pluralise a computer mouse), but is the plural mouses or mice?

You'll be pleased to hear that I resisted the urge to interrogate and embarrass quiz the small boy young man.

MardyBra Wed 10-Oct-12 18:21:31

No pedants out and about today then?

Frontpaw Wed 10-Oct-12 18:24:29


MardyBra Wed 10-Oct-12 18:33:05

Thanks Frontpaw. Very helpful.

lalalonglegs Wed 10-Oct-12 18:35:56

Mouses, mice sounds twee <<not very pedantic answer>>

Frontpaw Wed 10-Oct-12 18:37:24

I likes to 'elp.

Actually, I think it is 'mice'.

OneOfMyTurnsComingOn Wed 10-Oct-12 18:38:00


MaryZed Wed 10-Oct-12 18:41:13



MardyBra Wed 10-Oct-12 18:41:21

Maybe I should post in the Geeks' Corner (or whatever it's called) too...

KatieScarlett2833 Wed 10-Oct-12 18:41:29

Computer click on stuff thingies?


MaryZed Wed 10-Oct-12 18:42:32

Is that a technical term Katie?

KateByChristmas Wed 10-Oct-12 18:45:11

I once ordered 50 mice. It's definitely mice!

KatieScarlett2833 Wed 10-Oct-12 18:45:31

It's what I would say Maryz

"Excuse me young man with the improbable hair, yes you. Where are the computer click on stuff thingies?"

nickeldaisical Fri 12-Oct-12 16:21:49

it's mouses in computer speak.

Frontpaw Fri 12-Oct-12 16:38:50

Isn't it computer squeek?

WMittens Fri 12-Oct-12 18:13:14

From wiki:
"The online Oxford Dictionaries entry for mouse states the plural for the small rodent is mice, while the plural for the small computer connected device is either mice or mouses. However, in the use section of the entry it states that the more common plural is mice, and that the first recorded use of the term in the plural is mice as well (though it cites a 1984 use of mice when there were actually several earlier ones).[2] The term mice was seen in print in "The Computer as a Communication Device", written by J. C. R. Licklider in 1968."

LunaticFringe Fri 12-Oct-12 18:16:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MirandaGoshawk Tue 16-Oct-12 20:39:29

I've seen this discussed elsewhere and the gavel came down on mouses, not mice. It's because it's not the original use of the word (small furry creatures)and so the irregular plural doesn't apply to the new use.

Similar to forum - the original plural would be fora, but now we have a different use for the word we use forums.

Having said that, I would feel an idiot going up to a spotty youth in Computer World and asking where the 'mouses' are. grin

MardyBra Tue 16-Oct-12 22:54:24

Interesting point Miranda but I don't think there is a parallel with forum/fora, as that is a Latin word which we've anglicised and then applied the standard plural. We would talk about two cappucinos rather than two cappucini, for example (although of course there is the favourite pendant debate over panino/panini/paninis grin). Mice is from old English rather than imported.

I've just found the wiki page on irregular plurals. Mice is in the ablaut section. According to this you can have computer mouses or mice.

MirandaGoshawk Wed 17-Oct-12 12:16:26

The thing about fora, for example, is that we would use it in the original sense if we were talking about different fora in different ancient cities, but forums for different internet forums. Same, I think, with stadiums. Stadia if we were talking about the old ones in e.g Greece but if modern Olympics would be stadiums. So that's what I mean about new meanings for old words and different (simplified) plurals now attached to them.

Ah, panini, yes. Panino sounds a bit pretentious and I can cope with paninis but not with panini's a misplaced apostrophe which is how they seem to do it round here. Sigh.

Littlesurprise Thu 18-Oct-12 12:58:55

Mouse -> mice

Computer mouse -> computer mouses

Goose -> geese

Mongoose -> mongooses

EdithWeston Thu 18-Oct-12 13:07:02

I think I'd use either, but feel self-conscious about whichever one I chose.

So perhaps I'd recast the enquiry: "I need a mouse. Where would I find some to choose from?"

Snorbs Thu 18-Oct-12 13:28:01

I used to hear "mouses" used a lot but over the last 10 years or so it just seems to be "mice". "Mouses" strikes me as being unnecessarily twee.

As an analogy, a carpenter might use a saw horse. and if there were lots of them she'd just call them horses. She wouldn't call them "horsies" or similar just to make a clumsy point about word origins and plurals.

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