bemuse

play
verb be·muse \ bi-ˈmyüz , bē- \

Definition of bemuse

transitive verb
1 :to make confused :puzzle, bewilder
2 :to occupy the attention of :distract, absorb
  • has bemused audiences around the world
3 :to cause to have feelings of wry or tolerant amusement
  • seems truly bemused that people beyond his circle in Seattle would be interested in his ruminations
  • —Ruth B. Smith

bemusement

play \-ˈmyüz-mənt\ noun

bemuse was our Word of the Day on 02/19/2017. Hear the podcast!

Examples of bemuse in a Sentence

  1. a public that seemed more bemused by the shenanigans of celebrities than by a war being waged half a world away

  2. the stage mishap momentarily bemused the actress

Recent Examples of bemuse from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bemuse.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Did You Know?

In 1735, British poet Alexander Pope lamented, in rhyme, being besieged by "a parson much bemus'd in beer." The cleric in question was apparently one of a horde of would-be poets who plagued Pope with requests that he read their verses. Pope meant that the parson had found his muse - his inspiration - in beer. That use of bemus'd harks back to a 1705 letter in which Pope wrote of "Poets … irrecoverably Be-mus'd." In both letter and poem, Pope used bemused to allude to being inspired by or devoted to one of the Muses, the Greek sister goddesses of art, music, and literature. The lexicographers who followed him, however, interpreted "bemus'd in beer" as meaning "left confused by beer," and their confusion gave rise to the first modern sense of bemused above.

First Known Use of bemuse

1734


BEMUSE Defined for English Language Learners

bemuse

play
verb

Definition of bemuse for English Language Learners

  • : to cause (someone) to be confused and often also somewhat amused


BEMUSE Defined for Kids

bemuse

play
verb be·muse \ bi-ˈmyüz \

Definition of bemuse for Students

bemused; bemusing
:to cause to be confused and often also somewhat amused
  • He was bemused by all the attention he was receiving.


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