Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Any of numerous small insect-eating passerine birds of the family Paridae, found in woodland areas throughout the world and including especially members of the genus Parus, such as the chickadee. See Regional Note at tit1.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any small passerine bird of the family Paridae, which are found in the woods of the northern hemisphere and of Africa.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Any one of numerous species of small insectivorous singing birds belonging to Parus and allied genera; -- called also tit, and tomtit.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A tit; a tomtit; any bird of the family Paridæ, and especially of the subfamily Parinæ. (See the technical names, and cuts under chickadee and Parus.)

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. small insectivorous birds

Etymologies

Alteration (influenced by mous, mouse) of Middle English titmose : tit- (probably from Old Norse tittr, titmouse) + mose, titmouse (from Old English māse, titmouse).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English titmose, compound of tit ("small bird") and Old English māse ("titmouse"), from Proto-Germanic *maisōn (compare Dutch mees, German Meise, Old Norse meisingr), from *maisaz (“tiny, puny”) (compare Norwegian meis ("skinny weakling")). The plural is formed in imitation of the otherwise unrelated mouse. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • If I count that as a vote against titmouse, which is what my gut instructs me to do, then we have a final tally in order of funniness of:

    Matthew Diffee: Finally, I Have an Opinion

  • The titmouse is a fun little visitor to my yard as well.

    Cement Reflections « Fairegarden

  • Whatever would they do with the word about a bird called a titmouse?

    Weekend roundup

  • About two dozen or more of a little bird called the titmouse had all perched on one tree, where they were pecking, and fighting, and love-making, and noise-making, all at the same time.

    Harry's Ladder to Learning

  • One species alone spends its whole time in the woods and fields, never retreating for succour in the severest seasons to houses and neighbourhoods; and that is the delicate long-tailed titmouse, which is almost as minute as the golden-crowned wren; but the blue titmouse or nun (_Parus caeruleus_), the cole-mouse

    The Natural History of Selborne, Vol. 1

  • -- as quick as a wink he was changed into a titmouse, which is the least of all the birds in that land.

    The Wonder Clock

  • Some of her colleagues in the House have not been too polite-she has been called a "titmouse" and told "Just quiet down, baby."

    The Role of Opposition

  • The "titmouse" walnut produces very delicate fruit, rich in oil, and with thin shells, so that the little creatures can pierce the husks and shells while the fruit is still on the bough.

    Herbal Simples Approved for Modern Uses of Cure

  • As one does not speak of the "egg-box" of the titmouse, meaning "the nest of the titmouse," why should I invoke the box in speaking of the Mantis?

    Social Life in the Insect World

  • "There is no more faithful mother in the forest than the blue titmouse, which is a cousin to the chickadee," continued the policeman, "and this spring Tom Titmouse and his wife Nancy set up housekeeping in a little hollow in an elm-tree about half a mile north of this spot.

    Policeman Bluejay

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • It hasn't worked for me yet.

    TM: Thanks. Clearly we took you too seriously. :-)

    June 11, 2009

  • If you say titmouse three times, will one appear? You know, like Beetlejuice. Cuz that would be cool.

    June 11, 2009

  • Definitely tongue-in-cheek.

    June 11, 2009

  • Sounds to me like an urban legend in the making.

    June 9, 2009

  • There's also some question as to why the FCC would be involved in renaming a bird...

    June 9, 2009

  • Where did you hear that news, Tussey? I've only ever seen that on a blog, and it was tongue-in-cheek.

    June 9, 2009

  • Hmm... Do I really want to go there?

    June 8, 2009

  • Federal Communications Commission.

    June 8, 2009

  • Federal Censorship Commitee.
    chestmouse, indeed!

    June 8, 2009

  • What's the FCC?

    June 8, 2009

  • The FCC wants to change it to chestmouse. One species is known as tufted titmouse. I like that name but there's also thrummy titmouse which has its own appeal.

    June 8, 2009