1 of 3


mused; musing

intransitive verb

: to become absorbed in thought
especially : to think about something carefully and thoroughly
musing about what might have been
archaic : wonder, marvel

transitive verb

: to think or say (something) in a thoughtful way
"I could sell the house," she mused, "but where would I go?"
muser noun


2 of 3

noun (1)

: a state of deep thought or dreamy abstraction
thrown into a muse by the book she was reading


3 of 3

noun (2)

capitalized : any of the nine sister goddesses in Greek mythology presiding over song and poetry and the arts and sciences
Clio is the Greek Muse of history.
: a source of inspiration
especially : a guiding genius
The writer's beloved wife was his muse.
: poet

Did you know?

Muse on this: the word muse comes from the Anglo-French muser, meaning “to gape, to idle, to muse.” (Amuse has the same source.) The image evoked is one of a thinker so absorbed in thought as to be unconsciously open-mouthed. Those who muse on their pets’ musings might like to know that muser is ultimately from Latin musus, meaning “mouth of an animal”—also source of the word muzzle. The sister goddesses of Greek mythology known as the Muses have no etymological link: that word, which in lowercase refers to a source of inspiration, comes from Greek Mousa. The ultimate Greek origin of the word museum translates as “of the Muses.”

Choose the Right Synonym for muse

ponder, meditate, muse, ruminate mean to consider or examine attentively or deliberately.

ponder implies a careful weighing of a problem or, often, prolonged inconclusive thinking about a matter.

pondered the course of action

meditate implies a definite focusing of one's thoughts on something so as to understand it deeply.

meditated on the meaning of life

muse suggests a more or less focused daydreaming as in remembrance.

mused upon childhood joys

ruminate implies going over the same matter in one's thoughts again and again but suggests little of either purposive thinking or rapt absorption.

ruminated on past disappointments

Examples of muse in a Sentence

Verb I could sell the house, she mused, but then where would I go?
Recent Examples on the Web
Liberals and leftists who muse about forming a united front with the right against the corporate elite might study how an earlier uneasy alliance worked out—between the Northern and Southern Democrats who enacted the signature legislation of the New Deal. Michael Kazin, The New Republic, 8 Sep. 2023 George and Green mused about the possibility of being teammates. Scott Horner, The Indianapolis Star, 8 Sep. 2023 Perhaps, Goldwasser mused, machine learning could be used to discover the meaning of the whales’ exchanges. Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker, 4 Sep. 2023 With cable gradually losing customers and Disney openly musing about selling ESPN on its own as a streaming channel, Charter wanted to include Disney’s streaming apps with its subscriptions. Wes Davis, The Verge, 3 Sep. 2023 And Trump himself mused about a potential civil war during a recent interview with Tucker Carlson. Tori Otten, The New Republic, 30 Aug. 2023 Not long after Canadian politicians mused about trying to make food more affordable by subjecting grocery chains to special taxation, more crackpot ideas have surfaced. Matthew Lau, National Review, 28 Aug. 2023 In a Reddit thread musing over the former Michigan resident’s recent move to the Ocean State, a user from Lansing poked fun at Hutchinson’s campaign strategy, one that became familiar to residents there in 2021. Brittany Bowker,, 15 Aug. 2023 Lacy mused over Althea’s trajectory in an effort to understand her erratic moods and lack of self-control on the court. Sally H. Jacobs, Town & Country, 15 Aug. 2023
Sydney Sweeney can now add music video muse to her resume. Angel Saunders, Peoplemag, 6 Sep. 2023 The moon and Venus harmonize today, connecting you to your creative muse. USA TODAY, 2 Sep. 2023 Jagged peaks and desolate terrain were the muses of Charlotte Butler Skinner. Jacoba Urist, Smithsonian Magazine, 1 Sep. 2023 Actor, model, and Chanel muse Margaret Qualley married Grammy-winning record producer Jack Antonoff in New Jersey last weekend, surrounded by family, famous friends (like frequent Antonoff collaborator Taylor Swift), and several dozen uninvited guests (largely, Swift’s fans). Halie Lesavage, Harper's BAZAAR, 22 Aug. 2023 In true wife guy fashion, the band dedicated the songs to their wives, their muses. Brittany Spanos, Rolling Stone, 14 Aug. 2023 At that point in time, an experimental Gaye was busy following wherever his creative muse led him. Gail Mitchell, Billboard, 26 Aug. 2023 Frank Frances Studio In a nod to their roles as miniature muses, both girls feature alongside their father in the collection’s campaign. Elise Taylor, Vogue, 25 Aug. 2023 Partlow is named for the founders’ paternal grandmother and muse: Gigi (Aleene) Partlow. Halie Lesavage, Harper's BAZAAR, 22 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'muse.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Verb and Noun (1)

Middle English, from Anglo-French muser to gape, idle, muse, from Old French *mus mouth of an animal, from Medieval Latin musus

Noun (2)

Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin Musa, from Greek Mousa

First Known Use


14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Noun (1)

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of muse was in the 14th century


Dictionary Entries Near muse

Cite this Entry

“Muse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 verb
mused; musing
: ponder


2 of 2 noun
capitalized : any of the nine sister goddesses of song and poetry and the arts and sciences in Greek mythology
: a source of inspiration


Middle English musen "to ponder," from early French muser "to gape, muse," Latin musus "mouth of an animal"


Middle English Muse "one of the nine goddesses of the arts," from early French Muse (same meaning), from Latin Musa (same meaning), from Greek Mousa "Muse"

More from Merriam-Webster on muse

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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