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.”
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
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, BostonGlobe.com, 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.
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
Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin Musa, from Greek Mousa