\ə-ˈmyüz \
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

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.

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

Bloomberg News Trump’s planned visit with queen draws critics LONDON— President Trump will meet Queen Elizabeth II during his visit to Britain next month, and many Brits are not amused., "Melania’s jacket causes stir after visit to detention center," 21 June 2018 ClosePosted by Anthony Velardi25,663 Viewsapp-facebook The sauntering gator has been viewed over 23,000 times on Facebook and amused some of Verladi's fellow passengers on the plane. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, "Alligator moseying across Orlando airport tarmac halts plane trying to taxi to gate," 13 June 2018 Ohanian, for his part, kept the crowds and Internet amused with his reactions while watching his wife play. Michaela Bechler, Vogue, "All the Celebrities Who Went to Wimbledon This Year," 11 July 2018 Singapore authorities, on high security alert for the event, were less than amused. Victoria Kim,, "Kim arrives in Singapore for historic meeting with Trump, 'unknown territory' in the world of diplomacy," 10 June 2018 Meanwhile in the press room, Tony winners were surprised and amused by De Niro's comments, including Harry Potter and the Cursed Child director John Tiffany, who entered the press room immediately after the incident. Maeve Mcdermott, USA TODAY, "Robert De Niro drops the f-bomb bashing Trump at the Tony Awards," 10 June 2018 Bell makes no apologies and sounds mildly amused by the various legal arguments used against him. Mark Alesia, Indianapolis Star, "Copyright infringement lawsuits make Indy skyline photo worth a lot more than 1,000 words," 8 May 2018 Some viewers watching on felt less than amused by Perry’s advances. Lars Brandle, Billboard, "Katy Perry Floored an 'American Idol' Contestant With a Kiss: Watch," 12 Mar. 2018 But the people behind the show were less-than amused by the appropriation of the progressive, Hillary Clinton supporting character. Natasha Bach, Fortune, "The NRA Tried to Use a 'Parks and Recreation' Clip and Amy Poehler Is Not Amused," 22 Feb. 2018

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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Statistics for amuse

Last Updated

4 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for amuse

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

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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 \
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.

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Comments on amuse

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