Quiet As A Mouse Meaning
Definition: To be extremely quiet.
Origin of Quiet As A Mouse
This idiom might seem confusing to someone who has heard a mouse squeaking, since mice can actually be quite loud. However, mice have long enjoyed a reputation as being especially quiet.
It’s possible this comes from the fact that when a predator is on the prowl, such as a cat, mice tend to be as still and quiet as possible.
For this same reason, there is a similar expression: still as a mouse, which dates back to the 1300s. Quiet as a mouse originated a little later, in the 1500s or 1600s.
Both versions were approximately equally popular until the first half of the 1900s, at which point quiet as a mouse began to take a larger lead.
Nowadays, quiet as a mouse is more than twice as popular.
Examples of Quiet As A Mouse
In the following example, two friends are doing some research in a library.
Kerry: So, what are you up to this weekend?
Christine: Kerry, shhhh! You are so loud. We’re in a library, so you have to whisper.
Kerry: Really? I do most of my research online, so I’ve never really been in a library. I just assumed that being quiet in a library was just a thing people did in the movies. I didn’t think that actually happened in real life.
Christine: Of course it happens in real life. Just be careful and lower your voice.
Kerry: Okay, fine! I’ll be as quiet as a mouse.
Christine: Thank you!
In this dialogue, two friends are visiting one of their parents for an overnight stay.
Arlena: I’m so glad you could join me at my parents’ house over the holiday weekend!
Nyima: Me too! It’s cool to finally meet your parents. They go to bed really early. Should we go to bed too, so that we don’t wake them up?
Arlena: No, that’s not necessary. We can go watch TV in the basement, and they won’t hear us at all. We just have to be careful to be as quiet as a mouse while we are walking down the stairs. All the sounds in the stairway easily carry up to their room.
Nyima: Okay, I’ll be as quiet as I can!
The example below is from a travel article about Belize.
- But beachy, mangrovey, 25-mile-long, mile-wide Ambergris is quiet as a mouse. The most danger you’ll encounter in bustling, 13,000-soul San Pedro, the caye’s only town, is getting your foot run over by a tipsy driver on a golf cart (the main form of transport). –New York Post
This excerpt is about a car that runs very quietly.
- MINI has also worked wonders with sound deadening, as this little bulldog is quiet as a mouse on the highway. –New York Daily News
The phrase quiet as a mouse means to be as silent as possible.