titmice

titmouse

[tit-mous]
noun, plural titmice [tit-mahys] .
any of numerous, widely distributed, small songbirds of the family Paridae, especially of the genus Parus, having soft, thick plumage and a short, stout, conical bill.
Compare tufted titmouse.


Origin:
1275–1325; Middle English tit(e)mose (see tit1); mose, Old English māse titmouse; cognate with German Meise titmouse, Old Norse meis- in meisingr kind of bird; modern mouse by folk etymology

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World English Dictionary
titmouse (ˈtɪtˌmaʊs)
 
n , pl -mice
(usually plural) See tit any small active songbird of the family Paridae, esp those of the genus Parus
 
[C14 titemous, from tite (see tit1) + mouse]

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Word Origin & History

titmouse
"small, active bird," early 14c., titmose, from tit (2) (expressing something small) + O.E. mase "titmouse," from P.Gmc. *maison (cf. Du. mees, Ger. meise), from adj. *maisa- "little, tiny." Spelling infl. 16c. by unrelated mouse.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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