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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


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noun (1)

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


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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? Noun (2) where is the muse who will sing of this man's great and noble deeds?
Recent Examples on the Web
After Barnes body was found, Johnson mused to family members that investigators might find DNA under her fingernails, according to recordings obtained from a Maryland State Police wiretap. Cassidy Jensen, Baltimore Sun, 3 July 2024 Jackson mused about whether the president’s absolute power to appoint and remove executive officials would extend to a president doing so by poisoning his attorney general. New York Daily News Editorial Board, New York Daily News, 2 July 2024
O’Connor’s Orpheus, the poet, musician, and oracle, is the only child of Dream and the muse, Calliope. Denise Petski, Deadline, 2 July 2024 But for artists like Heidi Mayo, the ancient creature is an approachable muse. Oli Turner, The Christian Science Monitor, 1 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for muse 

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 21 Jul. 2024.

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"

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