mice


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the best-laid plans of mice and men

Said when something ends poorly or differently than expected, despite preparations for success. It is an abbreviated version of the full proverb "the best-laid plans of mice and men oft go astray." I always thought our marriage was stable and that we'd be together forever. I guess it's true what they say, though, the best-laid plans of mice and men and all that. A: "I've been working on this project for six months, and now, right before it's due, they tell me they want something completely different." B: "That's rough. The best-laid plans of mice and men, I suppose."
See also: and, men, mice, of, plan

the best-laid schemes of mice and men

Said when something ends poorly or differently than expected, despite preparations for success. It is an abbreviated version of the line, "The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft a-gley" (go astray), from Robert Burns' poem "To a Mouse," which itself is a play on the proverb "the best-laid plans of mice and men oft go astray." I always thought our marriage was stable and that we'd be together forever. I guess it's true what they say, though, the best-laid schemes of mice and men and all that. A: "I've been working on this project for six months, and now, right before it's due, they tell me they want something completely different." B: "That's rough. The best-laid schemes of mice and men, I suppose."
See also: and, men, mice, of, scheme

dust mouse

A small accumulation of dust and lint, as found behind or under furniture. Also called a "dust bunny" or "dust ball." I was appalled by the amount of dust mice that were behind the sofa when we moved it from the corner of the room.
See also: dust, mouse

best-laid plans of mice and men oft(en) go astray,

 and best-laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft a-gley.
Prov. Things often go wrong even though you have carefully planned what you are going to do. (The gang aft a-gley version is Scots dialect, and comes from Robert Burns' poem "To a Mouse.") Jill: I reserved a hotel room for us three weeks ago, but now the clerk says he has no record of our reservation. So much for our fun weekend in the city. Jane: Well, these things happen. The best-laid plans of mice and men oft go astray. I had all the arrangements made for my party, and then the guest of honor got sick and I had to call the whole thing off. The best-laid schemes of mice and men gang aft a-gley. If a little rain can ruin the best-laid plans of mice and men, think what an earthquake might do!
See also: and, astray, men, mice, of, plan

cat in gloves catches no mice

Prov. Sometimes you cannot get what you want by being careful and polite. Jill: I've hinted to Mary several times that I need her to pay me the money she owes, but she just ignores me. Jane: A cat in gloves catches no mice, Jill. Tell her bluntly that you need the money.
See also: cat, catch, glove, mice

*poor as a church mouse

 and *poor as church mice
very poor. (*Also: as ~.) My aunt is as poor as a church mouse. The Browns are poor as church mice.
See also: church, mouse, poor

When the cat's away, the mice will play.

Prov. When no one in authority is present, the subordinates can do as they please. When the teacher left for a few minutes, the children nearly wrecked the classroom. When the cat's away, the mice will play. Jill: You shouldn't be reading a novel at your desk. Jane: But the boss isn't here. And when the cat's away, the mice will play.
See also: mice, play, will

be as poor as church mice

  (old-fashioned)
to be very poor When we first got married, we were as poor as church mice.
See also: church, mice, poor

when the cat's away, the mice will play

Without supervision, people will do as they please, especially in disregarding or breaking rules. For example, As soon as their parents left, the children invited all their friends over-when the cat's away, you know . This expression has been a proverb since about 1600 and is so well known it is often shortened, as in the example.
See also: mice, play, will

keep no more cats than can catch mice

Use the bare minimum. A old expression that cautioned against maintaining any more people or things than can accomplish a purpose. as
See also: can, cat, catch, keep, mice, more
References in periodicals archive ?
At 8 weeks of age, mice in both groups showed cognitive deficits.
They said they will trap deer mice in areas he frequented and test them for hantavirus.
Thirty-nine 6- to 8-week-old National Institutes of Health (NIH) Swiss mice (Harlan, Indianapolis, IN, USA) were anesthetized with pentobarbital, and the distal portion of the tail was exposed to 1 infected mosquito.
The National Institutes of Health, a part of the US Department of Health and Human Services, just paid two biotech companies $10 million for 250 strains of mice.
The mouse models alone contributed significantly to creating this "bridge," as the altered molecular pathways in their whole, living bodies make genetically modified mice suitable tools for both classic toxicological and molecular biological research.
The NR2B part of the NMDA receptors works well in young mice, but its efficiency drops drastically after puberty.
There are mice designed to resemble Mickey Mouse; there are upside-down mice, called trackballs; there are small, flat surfaces built into a keyboard with which a moving finger maneuvers the screen cursor; and there are devices squeezed between the H and J keys of a keyboard that look like a rubber eraser at the end of a pencil (wriggling the tip steers the cursor on the screen).
More than 8,200 distinct genes are currently included in the library and can be accessed by researchers worldwide as breeding pairs of knockout mice.
Scientists create such mice by inserting mutations in one of two important tumor-suppressing genes that mice and people share.
1] mice develop SLE spontaneously and experience premature mortality, females develop more severe disease and succumb at an earlier age than do males (Roubinian et al.
Previous studies in suckling mice inoculated intracranially or intraporitoneally suggest that mice are not permissive to SARS-CoV (1,8).
Stunning as those results appeared, the tumors were mouse cancers artificially implanted on the skin of specially bred mice.
Mice with Human Tau Develop Tangles, Suffer Neuronal Death, Just Like Human Alzheimer's Disease Sufferers
Sharing the Health: Cells from unusual mice make others cancerfree" (SN: 5/13/06, p.