Famous Sayings #148 — ‘Quiet as a Mouse’

May 19, 2019

As they sneaked into the kitchen, Billy and Molly each made sure to be as quiet as a mouse as not to wake up the others in the house.

Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

Today’s Famous Sayings posts should be a quick one. (I needed a quick post considering all the research and work I’m doing at the moment.) So, let’s get to it.


What Does It Mean to Be as Quiet as a Mouse?

When someone (or something) is as quiet as a mouse, that person or thing is very silent, meek, or docile. A similar phrase is “still as a mouse.”

Why is a mouse used in this metaphor? It might be because mice have predators and they look very meek. Also, while mice can make a lot of noise, they tend to get very quiet when sneaking around.


When Did the Phrase Quiet as a Mouse Originate?

From the sources I was able to consult, the phrase “quiet as a mouse” may go as far back as the mid-16th century. It’s sister phrase, “still as a mouse,” originated in the 14th century (Dictionary.com).


Did You Know?

Both “quiet as a mouse” and “still as a mouse” were equally popular until the early half of the 20th century. Then, “quiet as a mouse” gained in popularity. The latter phrase is now half as popular as the former (“What Does”).


Works Cited

“As Quiet As A Mouse | Definition Of As Quiet As A Mouse by Merriam-Webster.” Merriam-Webster. Web. Retrieved 19 May 2019. <https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/as%20quiet%20as%20a%20mouse>.

Be as quiet as a mouse – Idioms by The Free Dictionary.” The Free Dictionary. Farlex, Inc. Web. Retrieved 19 May 2019. <https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/be+as+quiet+as+a+mouse>.

“Quiet as a mouse – Idioms by The Free Dictionary.” The Free Dictionary. Farlex, Inc. Web. Retrieved 19 May 2019. <https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/quiet+as+a+mouse>.

“Quiet as a mouse | Definition of Quiet as a mouse at Dictionary.com.” Dictionary.com. Web. Retrieved 19 May 2019. <https://www.dictionary.com/browse/quiet-as-a-mouse>.

“What Does Quiet As A Mouse Mean?” Writing Explained. Web. Retrieved 19 May 2019. <https://writingexplained.org/idiom-dictionary/quiet-as-a-mouse>.

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