verb \ ə-ˈmyüz \
|Updated on: 9 Aug 2018

Definition of amuse

amused; amusing
1 a : 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.
2 a archaic : to divert the attention of so as to deceive
b obsolete : to occupy the attention of : absorb
c obsolete : distract, bewilder
obsolete : muse



Examples of amuse in a Sentence

  1. It amuses me to think of how he looked when I last saw him.

  2. a funny story that never fails to amuse

  3. He amused himself with a game of solitaire.

Recent Examples of amuse from the Web

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.

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.”

Origin and Etymology of amuse

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

Synonym Discussion of 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

AMUSE Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of amuse for English Language Learners

  • : 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

AMUSE Defined for Kids


verb \ ə-ˈmyüz \

Definition of amuse for Students

amused; amusing
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.

Synonym Discussion of 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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