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

be as poor as church mice

To have little to no money. Now that we're paying a mortgage, we're as poor as church mice.
See also: church, mice, poor

the best-laid plans of mice and men oft go astray

Said when something ends poorly or differently than expected, despite preparations for success. The phrase is likely an adaptation of a line from 18th-century Scottish poet Robert Burns. I always thought our business would last forever. I guess it's true what they say, though, the best-laid plans of mice and men oft go astray. 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 oft go astray, I suppose."
See also: and, astray, men, mice, of, oft, plan

a cat in gloves catches no mice

One might have to incorporate blunt or aggressive action in order to obtain results that cannot be achieved with passivity or restraint. I think you'll get that promotion if you pursue it more assertively. A cat in gloves catches no mice, after all.
See also: cat, catch, glove, mice, no

when the cat's away, the mice will play

When someone in authority is not present, those subordinate to that authority do whatever they want. A: "If I leave my classroom for even a moment, I come back to find the place in chaos." B: "When the cat's away, the mice will play."
See also: mice, play, will

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, oft, 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, no

*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

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

poor as a church mouse

OLD-FASHIONED
If someone is as poor as a church mouse, they have very little money. I was as poor as a church mouse, but I bought that wreck of a car. I suspect we'll continue to be poor as church mice. Note: Mice living in a church are unlikely to find much to eat as there is no kitchen or food cupboard.
See also: church, mouse, poor

when the cat's away, the mice will play

people will naturally take advantage of the absence of someone in authority to do as they like. proverb
See also: mice, play, will

poor as a church mouse (or as church mice)

extremely poor.
Church mice may be considered to be particularly poor or deprived in that they do not have the opportunity to find pickings from a kitchen or larder.
See also: church, mouse, poor

when the cat’s aˈway the mice will ˈplay

(saying) people enjoy themselves more and behave with greater freedom when the person in charge of them is not there
See also: away, mice, play, will

(as) poor as a church ˈmouse

very poor: She was as poor as a church mouse, living on a tiny pension. OPPOSITE: (as) rich as Croesus
See also: church, mouse, poor

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, no
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