(as) poor as a church mouse

Very poor; having little or no money. My father was as poor as a church mouse growing up, so his sole focus was to give his kids every opportunity in life that he missed out on. We've become poor as church mice ever since the bank raised the interest rates on our mortgage. He's poor as a church mouse now because he squandered his inheritance on lavish, unnecessary purchases.
See also: church, mouse, poor
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

poor as a churchmouse

Having little or no wealth and few possessions, as in She's poor as a churchmouse, so you can't expect her to donate anything. The reason for this long-used simile is unclear, but most believe that, since churches are not known for storing food, a mouse inside one would fare poorly. It has survived such earlier phrases as poor as Job. [Second half of 1600s]
See also: churchmouse, poor
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

poor as a churchmouse

Singularly impecunious. This simile dates from the seventeenth century and its original analogy has been lost. Most authorities speculate that since a church usually has no place for food storage, such as a mouse might invade, mice would fare very poorly in churches. Indeed, James Howell’s 1659 proverb collection states it as hungry as a churchmouse. The current cliché has outlived the even older and once more common poor as Job (who in the Bible was deprived of all his possessions by Satan), poor as Lazarus, and poor as Job’s turkey (which, according to one of Thomas Haliburton’s Sam Slick tales, had only a single feather).
See also: churchmouse, poor
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
My daughter's favorite books were the Little Critters series (by Mercer Mayer), "The Berenstein Bears" (by Stan, Jan and Mike Berenstein) and the Christopher Churchmouse series (by Barbara Davoll).
For genealogical information on Dame Mary Wray see All Saints Church, Branston, Lincolnshire on Churchmouse website at www.homepage.ntlworld.
There's a renowned gentleman's outfitters, designer stores for men and women and Churchmouse Cheese, which sends its fare around the world.
Kirkby Lonsdale is a beautiful town with excellent shops, the best of which is Churchmouse Cheeses - where we spent a load of money on some of the best cheeses and chutneys we have ever had.
[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] as poor as a churchmouse, ebenso franz.
Dodd's other memorable cartoon creations include Churchmouse, Cellmate and Merrymole.
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eeek Susan Butterworth with a floral `Ignatius' the churchmouse full bloom Winifred Watson (left) and Vicki Wimpenny inspect a display called A Splash of Colour
THE stage was his life and when,in recent times, the flow of money was modest and he had to live in a rented council flat,Gordon Reid,actor in numerous TV, radio and theatre productions, said:``I'mas poor as a churchmouse,but I wouldn't be anything but an actor.''
The unobtrusive little churchmouse, gliding quietly through the great mansion of Mansfield, Fanny had watched Crawford take philanderous liberties with her cousins, Julia and Maria, and seen his obliquely improper relationship with his own, amoral sister, Mary.
Divisional officer Wyse, Churchmouse Cottage, Carnbo, Kinross, admitted speeding at 101mph on the M90 Perth- Edinburgh motorway on October 4.