Monday, April 14, 2008


In the derivatives of dormio in the vocabulary section of ch. 31, Wheelock lists 'dormouse'. I gave it a quick look-up in the OED. The etymology was interesting, so I thought I'd post it here.

[Origin obscure: the second element has been, at least since c 1575, treated as the word mouse, with pl. mice, though a pl. dormouses is evidenced in 16-17th c. The first element has also from 16th c. been associated with L. dormire, F. dormir to sleep, (as if dorm-mouse; cf. 16th c. Du. slaep-ratte, slaep-muys); but it is not certain that this is the original composition.
(Skeat suggests for the first element ON. dár benumbed: cf. also dial. ‘dorrer, a sleeper, a lazy person’ (Halliwell). (The F. dormeuse, fem. of dormeur sleeper, sometimes suggested as the etymon, is not known before 17th c.).]

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