ASL sign for computer mouse

I have seen it finger spelled, the sign on the nose for the rodent, and the kids move their hand in a circle like on a mouse pad. Who is correct?

Well, as you see, ‘mouse’ has two meanings. So, signed rolling around on a pad its a computer mouse & the other way, the animal mouse.

There are probably some differences in the signs for “mouse” as you go across the continent as it is a relatively new concept (Don’t tell Xerox I said that) that may have yet to truly standardise. Your best source would be Deaf people in your neighbourhood. I would not be surprised if the standard sign for mouse2 were/became the same as the one for mouse1, as:

  1. a significant amount of ASL vocabulary shows some degree of derivation from their English counterparts.
  2. The visual similarity between mouse1 and mouse2 is as clear now as it was way back when.
  3. This similarity is kind of humourous, and a sense of humour is apparent quite a few ASL neologisms.


the sign for “computer mouse” is probably somewhat regional, as are many signs. (I’ll not even try to define “region” here as it could be regions of a country or between different deaf communities in neighboring cities.) In a conversation with deaf friends, we determined that between the five of us there were four different signs for “hot dog”. The same holds true for “coast” as in coastline. the signs are different on the East Coast and West Coast.

As a community needs a sign for a new word or concept, it can be invented. This may or may not make its way to other communities depending on the speed of communication. They may become standardized over time (like “computer”, “file”< etc.). Since I don’t know of any ASL standardization group, I imagine that some standardization comes from conferences, etc. As an example, if Microsoft is giving a press conference/symposium presentation about a new thing (let’s call it a flark) and they have an interpreter, the sign used at the conference may make its way into “standarized” ASL. If Handy checks back in, I imagine that he can provide more information than I.

Computer mouses look the same from one country to the next so I don’t see why there would be much variation in the way its signed.