Xerox PARC

po_mouseIn computing, a mouse is a pointing device that detects two-dimensional motion relative to a surface. This motion is typically translated into the motion of a pointer on a display, which allows for fine control of a graphical user interface.

Physically, a mouse consists of an object held in one’s hand, with one or more buttons. Mice often also feature other elements, such as touch surfaces and “wheels”, which enable additional control and dimensional input.

The earliest known publication of the term mouse as a computer pointing device is in Bill English’s 1965 publication “Computer-Aided Display Control”.

The online Oxford Dictionaries entry for mouse states the plural for the small rodent is mice, while the plural for the small computer connected device is either mice or mouses. However, in the use section of the entry it states that the more common plural is mice, and that the first recorded use of the term in the plural is mice as well (though it cites a 1984 use of mice when there were actually several earlier ones, such as J. C. R. Licklider’s “The Computer as a Communication Device” of 1968). According to the fifth edition of The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language the plural can be either “mice” or “mouses”.