\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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

The upshot of all this is that the Wayback Machine has evolved into something with far more utility than simply amusing trips to LiveJournals of yore. Nathan Mattise, Ars Technica, "The Internet’s keepers? “Some call us hoarders—I like to say we’re archivists”," 7 Oct. 2018 Add a deck of cards, books, some games or other things that could amuse children in a shelter or hotel room. Melissa Kossler Dutton, The Seattle Times, "Wildfire haze is good reminder to update your go-bag. Here’s how," 21 Aug. 2018 Steelers Conditioning Coordinator Garret Giemont reportedly caught wind of the gag and took the man off the field, although players such as wide receiver Antonio Brown appeared amused, videos taken of the incident show. Greg Norman, Fox News, "Steelers fan, in full uniform and pads, sneaks onto field to stretch with team," 13 Aug. 2018 At times during the trial, Brooks seemed visibly amused, chuckling here and there at some of the over-the-top things in the podcast, such as Colton directing an expletive at people who might call the show with abrasive questions. Gregory Pratt,, "Former WWE star CM Punk wins defamation lawsuit brought by company doctor," 5 June 2018 But Baker was amused at how into the idea of turning into the monster M.J. was. Aja Romano, Vox, "Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” is the eternal Halloween bop — and so much more," 31 Oct. 2018 The couple are amused by the parade of sightseers outside, snapping those Instagram photos. New York Times, "Seeing the Light in Waterfront Brooklyn," 21 June 2018 Spooky people like myself are amused by all that is macabre, but contacting spirits isn't a parlor trick. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "A Beginner’s Guide to Communicating With Spirits on the Other Side," 19 June 2018 But the result still amuses the man whose own postseason system was marked for demolition in June 2012, five months after the Crimson Tide bludgeoned the Tigers on that January night in the New Orleans Superdome. Ross Dellenger,, "Did the LSU-Alabama Rematch Really Kill the BCS?," 10 July 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about amuse

Statistics for amuse

Last Updated

13 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for amuse

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on amuse

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with amuse

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for amuse

Spanish Central: Translation of amuse

Nglish: Translation of amuse for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of amuse for Arabic Speakers

Comments on amuse

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


a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


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


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!