Every once in a while, I come across someone using a word in a way that makes me think they think it means something else. One of those words is “bemused”.
Although it rhymes with “amused”, it’s not a synonym of it. “Bemused” means something more along the lines of “confused” than it does “amused”. It doesn’t help that the three words rhyme with each other.
Actually, despite “amuse” and “bemuse” having similar endings, they have different origins.
“Amuse” showed up in the late 15th century, and it is derived from the French amuser, which means to divert or to entertain.
“Bemuse”, on the other hand, appeared at the end of the 17th century and is a combination of “be” and “muse”. “Muse” has been around since the early 14th century and comes from the Middle English musen, which meant to mutter, gaze meditatively on, or be astonished.
Hope that clears it up. :)
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