amuse


verb (used with object), a·mused, a·mus·ing.

  1. to hold the attention of (someone) pleasantly; entertain or divert in an enjoyable or cheerful manner: She amused the guests with witty conversation.
  2. to cause mirth, laughter, or the like, in: The comedian amused the audience with a steady stream of jokes.
  3. to cause (time, leisure, etc.) to pass agreeably.
  4. Archaic. to keep in expectation by flattery, pretenses, etc.
  5. Obsolete.
    1. to engross; absorb.
    2. to puzzle; distract.

verb (tr)

  1. to keep pleasantly occupied; entertain; divert
  2. to cause to laugh or smile
v.

late 15c., “to divert the attention, beguile, delude,” from Middle French amuser “divert, cause to muse,” from a “at, to” (but here probably a causal prefix) + muser “ponder, stare fixedly” (see muse (v.)). Sense of “divert from serious business, tickle the fancy of” is recorded from 1630s, but through 18c. the primary meaning was “deceive, cheat” by first occupying the attention. Bemuse retains more of the original meaning. Related: Amused; amusing.

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