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- (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.
- (transitive, sometimes proscribed) To be amused, especially sardonically.
- (archaic, humorous) To devote to the Muses.
- 1705, Alexander Pope, Letters:
- When those incorrigible things, Poets, are once irrecoverably Be-mus'd
- (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.
to confuse or bewilder
to devote to the Muses
- (make drunk): 1873, John Camden Hotten, The Slang Dictionary