\ ə-ˈmyüz How to pronounce amuse (audio) \
amused; amusing

Definition of amuse

transitive verb

1a : to entertain or occupy in a light, playful, or pleasant manner She tried to amuse the child with a story.
b : to appeal to the sense of humor of His jokes don't amuse me.
2a archaic : to divert the attention of so as to deceive
b obsolete : to occupy the attention of : absorb
c obsolete : distract, bewilder

intransitive verb

obsolete : muse

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Other Words from amuse

amuser noun

Choose the Right Synonym for amuse

amuse, divert, entertain mean to pass or cause to pass the time pleasantly. amuse suggests that one's attention is engaged lightly. amuse yourselves while I make dinner divert implies distracting attention from worry or routine occupation especially by something funny. a light comedy to divert the tired businessman entertain suggests supplying amusement by specially contrived methods. a magician entertaining children at a party

Are amused and bemused synonyms?

Many people link bemused with amused, believing that the former word carries the meaning “amused, with a touch of something else.” While this was not its original sense, bemused has been used in such a fashion for long enough, and by enough people, that the meaning “having feelings of wry amusement especially from something that is surprising or perplexing" has become established. You may use bemuse in this fashion if you wish, but bear in mind that some people find it objectionable, insisting that bemused and amused are entirely distinct and that bemused properly means “marked by confusion or bewilderment.” It is worth noting that before bemused indicated confusion it had the meaning (especially among poets) “devoted to the Muses.”

Examples of amuse in a Sentence

It amuses me to think of how he looked when I last saw him. a funny story that never fails to amuse He amused himself with a game of solitaire.
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Recent Examples on the Web In the space of just six pages Askildsen manages to perplex, unsettle and even amuse his reader. Malcom Forbes Special To The Star Tribune, Star Tribune, "Review: 'Everything Like Before,' by Kjell Askildsen, translated from the Norwegian by Sean Kinsella," 23 Apr. 2021 Their antics amuse Brown, who marvels at this twist of fate. Mike Klingaman,, "These Howard County families opened their hearts and their homes to foster dogs during COVID-19 pandemic," 13 Apr. 2021 The shifting and contradictory narrative about Louisville's chances based on Evans' play continues to amuse Walz. Shannon Russell, The Courier-Journal, "Elite Eight underdog? That's just where Louisville women's basketball wants to be," 30 Mar. 2021 Chrissy Teigen's Twitter account never fails to amuse me. Paulina Jayne Isaac, Glamour, "Chrissy Teigen Jokes That She's ‘Free’ After President Biden Unfollows Her on Twitter," 24 Feb. 2021 Last year, Woodmere residents Daniel and Mehtap Akbenacquired six chicks to amuse their three young children during their home confinement related to the coronavirus pandemic. Peter Krouse, cleveland, "Wayward chickens and a radical recall campaign: big problems for one of Cuyahoga County’s tiniest communities," 8 Feb. 2021 At a heroic scale under sumptuously soaring trees, the tableaux both amuse and overwhelm. Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker, "When a Museum Feels Like Home," 8 Feb. 2021 In its earliest mentions, lemon pigs served as little more than a tabletop ornament meant to amuse and surprise children and some whimsical adults. Scottie Andrew, CNN, "Want good luck in the new year? Make yourself a lemon pig," 31 Dec. 2020 Cutting silhouettes began in Europe in the early 1700s, where the paper cutters were hired to amuse the royals prior to the French Revolution. Helaine Fendelman And Joe Rosson, Star Tribune, "Silhouettes show a side of history," 8 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'amuse.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of amuse

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

History and Etymology for amuse

Middle French amuser, from Old French, from a- (from Latin ad-) + muser to muse

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Learn More about amuse

Time Traveler for amuse

Time Traveler

The first known use of amuse was in the 15th century

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Statistics for amuse

Last Updated

7 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Amuse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for amuse



English Language Learners Definition of amuse

: to make someone laugh or smile : to entertain (someone) in a light and pleasant way
: to get the attention of (someone) in a pleasant way as time passes


\ ə-ˈmyüz How to pronounce amuse (audio) \
amused; amusing

Kids Definition of amuse

1 : to entertain with something pleasant She amused herself with a book.
2 : to please the sense of humor of We found his silly jokes amusing.

Choose the Right Synonym for amuse

amuse and entertain mean to cause the time to pass in an agreeable way. amuse is used for holding someone's interest with something that is pleasant or humorous. The toy amused the child for hours. entertain is used when something special is done to provide a person with amusement. Celebrities put on a show to entertain the troops.

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More from Merriam-Webster on amuse

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for amuse

Nglish: Translation of amuse for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of amuse for Arabic Speakers

Comments on amuse

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