Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

bemuse

play
verb be·muse \bi-ˈmyüz, bē-\

Simple Definition of bemuse

  • : to cause (someone) to be confused and often also somewhat amused

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of bemuse

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to make confused :  puzzle, bewilder

  3. 2 :  to occupy the attention of :  distract, absorb

  4. 3 :  to cause to have feelings of wry or tolerant amusement <seems truly bemused that people beyond his circle in Seattle would be interested in his ruminations — Ruth B. Smith>

bemusedly play \-ˈmyü-zəd-lē\ adverb
bemusement play \-ˈmyüz-mənt\ noun

Examples of bemuse in a sentence

  1. <a public that seemed more bemused by the shenanigans of celebrities than by a war being waged half a world away>

  2. <the stage mishap momentarily bemused the actress>



Did You Know?

In 1735, British poet Alexander Pope lamented, in rhyme, being besieged by "a parson much bemus'd in beer." The cleric in question was apparently one of a horde of would-be poets who plagued Pope with requests that he read their verses. Pope meant that the parson had found his muse - his inspiration - in beer. That use of bemus'd harks back to a 1705 letter in which Pope wrote of "Poets … irrecoverably Be-mus'd." In both letter and poem, Pope used bemused to allude to being inspired by or devoted to one of the Muses, the Greek sister goddesses of art, music, and literature. The lexicographers who followed him, however, interpreted "bemus'd in beer" as meaning "left confused by beer," and their confusion gave rise to the first modern sense of bemused above.

1735

First Known Use of bemuse

1735


BEMUSE Defined for Kids

bemuse

play
verb be·muse \bi-ˈmyüz\

Definition of bemuse for Students

bemusedbemusing

  1. :  to cause to be confused and often also somewhat amused <He was bemused by all the attention he was receiving.>





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up bemuse? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a smart aleck

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image567572573

Which of these is a synonym of unctuous?

prompt maudlin angry oily
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ