Mice vs. mouses

For the small device used to guide the cursor on a computer display, many dictionaries endorse both mice and mouses as the plural form, and few usage and style guides offer a definitive preference (exception: AP says “mice”). We assumed mouses was standard for the computer device, but we were wrong. Searches of current news articles reveal 31 instances of “computer mice” to only seven of “computer mouses.” And on the whole web, Google finds nearly 10 million results for “computer mice” to only around 200,000 for “computer mouses.”

These ratios might be skewed by a greater tendency to use “computer” with “mice” to avoid confusion with the rodent. But this may be partially offset by instances of mouses as a simple-present verb (e.g., she mouses over the image). In any case, we can safely say that mices prevails by a large margin.


That was followed closely by computer mouses, bathroom paper towel handles, water fountains and sink faucets. [Minneapolis Star Tribune]

If you have any equipment, from laptops to cables, keyboards to mice … you can donate them at special events throughout January. [BBC]

Instead of relying solely on keyboards and mouses, ultrabooks will also incorporate touch screens as an alternative means of entering information. [Stuff.co.nz]

That will make obsolete the era of mice and remote controls. [Los Angeles Times]

9 thoughts on “Mice vs. mouses”

  1. Popularity doesn’t count. Specialist terms take the regular plural. Grammarist, Grammarists; mouse, mouses. Only the traditional irregular noun maintains its irregular plural: mouse, mice. And it leaves you with a degree of satisfaction that you’re not following the unthinking masses of the great unwashed. We know what’s correct. Hell, even the American dialect is dropping agreement in number: they each went to their house. As they say, d’uh!

  2. The worst thing about Googling for the “correct word” is that you end up on articles with dedicated linguists or tongue troopers in the comment section…


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