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1. We’ll skip the obvious, cliched, and oh-so-funny reference to small furry rodents, if it’s okay with everyone.

2. A small hand-operated object that contains a motion-sensing system (wheels, optical, accelerometer, gyroscope, or whatever) that senses when and how the device is moved and conveys that information to the computer (usually using USB, with modern computers). The mouse’s motion information is used to control the position of a cursor, pointer, or other “tool” on the computer’s screen.

A mouse will also contain one or more buttons/switches that can be used to access or control functions within the computer’s operating system or a software application. Various thumb- or finger-operated wheels and other controls may also be included for further accessing OS or software functions.

The name “mouse” is said to have originated at Stanford Research Institute, due to the resemblance of the device and its cable to a small rodent. (Despite the advent of wireless mice, the name has stuck.) Though the first commercially released mouse debuted in 1981 with the Xerox 8010 Star Information System, it wasn’t until the Macintosh appeared that the device began to become common.

3. The action of using a mouse to move an onscreen cursor, pointer, or other tool around a computer screen.

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