\ 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

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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 Both systems are designed to be taken on the go, making Animal Crossing the perfect game to keep your kids amused during long car rides and flights. Corinne Sullivan, Woman's Day, "What Is Animal Crossing? It's a Virtual Game That's Fun For Both Adults and Kids," 19 Apr. 2020 Whether their queries will amuse remains to be seen. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "A .com trademark case at the US Supreme Court could change the web as we know it," 11 Mar. 2020 Bolton on the witness stand would be direct, forceful, and no doubt at least occasionally amusing. Matthew Walther, TheWeek, "John Bolton's quest for vengeance and book sales," 27 Jan. 2020 The opening credits also got a lockdown update, showing the cast amusing themselves at home with their families – and cats, in the case of Kate McKinnon. Jayme Deerwester, USA TODAY, "Brad Pitt gives us a hunky Dr. Fauci in second 'Saturday Night Live at Home' episode," 26 Apr. 2020 About a well-to-do young woman who amuses herself as an informal matchmaker, Emma. is a story of class, prejudice, and love in the small fictional English town of Highbury. Kathryn Lindsay,, "Autumn de Wilde Didn’t Mean For Emma. To Be Your Quarantine Comfort Movie — But It Should Be," 20 Mar. 2020 There is no doubting the severity of this outbreak, but amid the fear of contagion and anger at the government's handling of the crisis, many residents are finding ways to amuse themselves within the confines of their homes. Nectar Gan, CNN, "How Wuhan residents are trying to make the best of the coronavirus lockdown," 29 Jan. 2020 And the three gents who were so successful in amusing themselves aren’t the only people at CNN who’ve been missing the story. James Freeman, WSJ, "CNN and Ignorance," 28 Jan. 2020 Despite minor discomforts, the kids are far more game, even with the lack of neighbors; kids can always find ways to amuse themselves. Todd Mccarthy, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Minari': Film Review | Sundance 2020," 27 Jan. 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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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

30 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Amuse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for amuse


How to pronounce amuse (audio)

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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with amuse

Spanish Central: Translation of amuse

Nglish: Translation of amuse for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of amuse for Arabic Speakers

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