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bemused

[bih-myoozd] /bɪˈmyuzd/
adjective
1.
bewildered or confused:
a bemused expression on his face.
2.
lost in thought; preoccupied.
3.
mildly amused, especially in a detached way.
Origin of bemused
1695-1705
First recorded in 1695-1705; bemuse + -ed2
Related forms
bemusedly
[bih-myoo-zid-lee] /bɪˈmyu zɪd li/ (Show IPA),
adverb
unbemused, adjective
Usage note
See bemuse.

bemuse

[bih-myooz] /bɪˈmyuz/
verb (used with object), bemused, bemusing.
1.
to bewilder or confuse.
2.
to preoccupy; engross.
3.
to cause to be mildly amused, especially in a detached way:
Apparently bemused by his critics, he floated above the clamor surrounding the campaign.
Origin
First recorded in 1695-1705; be- + muse
Related forms
bemusement, noun
Usage note
The verb bemuse (usually as the adjective bemused) is similar in sound to amuse, and has in fact taken on the meaning "to cause to be mildly amused." Many usage experts and traditionalists consider this a misuse of bemuse, pointing out that its proper meaning is “to bewilder or confuse.” However, the history and use of bemuse has shown that its meaning is often ambiguous. It's often the case that one's feelings are a combination of bewilderment and amusement: Their customs bemuse most Americans. Even when it clearly means "to bewilder or confuse," bemuse usually retains a lighthearted tone: one would not typically say: I was bemused by his motive for the murder.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for bemused
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • She scarce listened, for at first she was bemused by two thoughts.

    The Job Sinclair Lewis
  • M'Clare says in a bemused sort of way He will be thirty-seven in a couple of months.

    The Lost Kafoozalum Pauline Ashwell
  • His passions were aflame, and his bemused brain was incapable of reckoning cost.

    The Heart of Unaga Ridgwell Cullum
  • She was amazed, bemused—deep down in her heart there was a great fear.

    Shadows of Flames Amelie Rives
  • The effect of his potations was still upon him, and his mind was bemused.

    No Defense, Complete Gilbert Parker
British Dictionary definitions for bemused

bemused

/bɪˈmjuːzd/
adjective
1.
preoccupied; lost in thought
Derived Forms
bemusedly (bɪˈmjuːzɪdlɪ) adverb

bemuse

/bɪˈmjuːz/
verb
1.
(transitive) to confuse; bewilder
Derived Forms
bemusement, noun
bemusing, adjective
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for bemused
adj.

1735, past participle adjective from bemuse (v.). Related: Bemusedly.

bemuse

v.

"to make utterly confused," from be- + muse (cf. amuse); attested from 1735 but probably older, as Pope (1705) punned on it as "devoted utterly to the Muses."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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