"Mickey Mouse"

Dennis R. Preston preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU
Wed Dec 5 23:56:40 UTC 2001

Sorry Jim, them Micky-Mouse and chiceknshit outfits got the same
connotations to me. I'm going to bed now to think abdut the usage
and/or semantic distinctions between the two. At the moment they seem
mighty slim, but a little slumber may reveal something.


>In a message dated 12/05/2001 4:31:03 PM Eastern Standard Time,
>Mark.Mandel at LHSL.COM writes:
>>  Does anyone know how the phrase "Mickey Mouse" came to describe "a person
>>   or organization with a lot of poorly-justified, nit-picking rules"? IMHO
>>   the cartoon character isn't like that and never has been.
>I am told it is US Army slang from World War II.  Unfortunately the book I
>think I'm quoting from is AWOL from my library.
>I think the definition you give better fits the word "chickenshit".  A
>"Mickey Mouse outfit"  is an organization that is too small (physically
>mentally or morally) to do the job it's supposed to, but doen not necessarily
>connote nit-picking bureaucracy the way "chicken-shit does".
>        - Jim Landau

Dennis R. Preston
Department of Linguistics and Languages
Michigan State University
East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA
preston at pilot.msu.edu
Office: (517)353-0740
Fax: (517)432-2736

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