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Is the plural of that device that you plug into your computer mouses or mice? Which of these is correct?

I bought some wireless optical mouses for my colleagues at work.

I bought some wireless optical mice for my colleagues at work.

I prefer the first one though I'm not sure why. The second makes me think there are some weird mutated creatures running around under my desk.

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1 Answer 1

up vote 9 down vote accepted

Both plurals are correct. (Merriam-Webster.) I don't have access to Oxford English Dictionary at the moment (or don't know where to find it), but according to Answers.com, the OED concurs. So use whichever one you wish.

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+1 Even though I prefer the term "mouses" to distinguish between the gizmo and the mammal, that's just me being fussy. Either is acceptable and almost invariably understood in context. The only time you might want to make a distinction is when there is a real chance for confusion, as in a lab setting where the behavior of mice is studied and the results are tabulated with "the click of a mouse." Even then you might simply specify that the lab needed, say, more computer mice if many weren't functioning correctly. –  Robusto Dec 27 '10 at 17:30
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The Second Edition of the OED gives one plural quote, which has "mice"; in the Third Edition (November 2010), the old quote is gone and there is a new plural quote, which has "mouses". It seems they jumbled quotes for no reason. The entry says nothing about the plural besides these quotes, so I feel that we cannot draw any conclusion about which form the OED supports. –  Cerberus Dec 28 '10 at 4:25

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