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.

Examples

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]

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