\ 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

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

Adam Riess at the Space Telescope Science Institute, who shared the 2011 Nobel Prize in physics for the discovery of dark energy, is alternately amazed and amused by the latest turn of events. Corey S. Powell, Discover Magazine, "Why We Still Don't Know How Fast the Universe is Expanding," 1 Jan. 2019 The people in the video aren't too amused by her antics, which makes the clip even funnier. Glamour, "Emilia Clarke Hilariously Dressed Up as Jon Snow for Charity, and It's Perfection," 27 Apr. 2019 Ambitious readers can amuse themselves by calculating the answers for higher numbers of grills such as nine. Quanta Magazine, "The Prime Rib Problem," 14 Aug. 2017 The seating arrangement amused Oscar viewers on Twitter, especially fans shipping an imaginary romance between Cooper and Gaga. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Irina Shayk Sat Between Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga at the Oscars and the Internet Is Dying," 25 Feb. 2019 However, Kim was not amused and insisted that her daughter switch into a pair of children's shoes instead. Nicole Saunders, Harper's BAZAAR, "North West Borrowed Kim Kardashian's High Heel Snakeskin Boots," 25 Apr. 2019 Some residents of Spokane, Wash. were amused to learn from a newspaper report last week that a local judge had sued his neighbor whose pet cat refused to stop using the judge's back porch as a litter box. Rick Anderson,, "Judge sues cat owner, then persuades fellow justice to seal the record," 8 May 2018 Coach Massimiliano Allegri would was less amused by some aspects of his team’s performance. Daniella Matar, The Seattle Times, "Ronaldo helps Juventus win but almost knocks teammate out," 10 Feb. 2019 The wave in question comes by way of soft, thick rope, stretching from wing to wing, that easily amuses its audience as Messrs. Eden and Williams snap it offstage, causing ripples to occur with teasing timing. Robert Greskovic, WSJ, "Momix Partners Dance With Illusion," 30 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.

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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

12 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

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 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.

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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

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to complain fretfully

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