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From be- +‎ muse. In meaning, influenced by bemaze and later amuse.


  • (UK, US) IPA(key): /bɪˈmjuːz/, /bəˈmjuːz/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -uːz


bemuse (third-person singular simple present bemuses, present participle bemusing, simple past and past participle bemused)

  1. (transitive) To confuse or bewilder.
    • 1771, James Foot, Penseroso:
      [With] fairy tales bemused the shepherd lies.
    • 1847, Hugh Miller, First Impressions of England and its people:
      the bad metaphysics with which they bemuse themselves
    • 2015, James Lambert, “Lexicography as a teaching tool: A Hong Kong case study”, in Lan Li, Jamie McKeown, Liming Liu, editors, Dictionaries and corpora: Innovations in reference science. Proceedings of ASIALEX 2015 Hong Kong, Hong Kong: The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, page 146:
      With regard to definition-writing students, as a result of having spent years padding out written assignments in order to meet word-length requirements, were somewhat bemused to be told that fewer words were better than a long, wordy definition.
  2. (transitive, sometimes proscribed) To be amused, especially sardonically.
  3. (archaic, humorous) To devote to the Muses.
    • 1705, Alexander Pope, Letters:
      When those incorrigible things, Poets, are once irrecoverably Be-mus'd
  4. (obsolete, slang, transitive) To make drunk; to intoxicate.
    • 1735, Alexander Pope, Satires of Dr. Donne versified:
      a parson much be-mus'd in beer
    • 1784, Edward Harwood, The Case of the Rev. Dr Harwood, page 27:
      This old man generally bemused himself in beer, once a fortnight.
    • 1891, Grace L. Keith Johnston, The Halletts: A Country Town Chronicle, volume 3, page 34:
      [] more innocently, and no doubt profitably, than if he had dined at a big-wig's board or bemused himself with smoke and beer among his brethren of the pen.



  • (make drunk): 1873, John Camden Hotten, The Slang Dictionary