AskDefine | Define amuse

Dictionary Definition



1 occupy in an agreeable, entertaining or pleasant fashion; "The play amused the ladies" [syn: divert, disport]
2 make (somebody) laugh; "The clown amused the children"

User Contributed Dictionary



From amuser < à (from Latin ad) + muser. See muse, verb.



  1. To entertain or occupy in a pleasant manner; to stir with pleasing or mirthful emotions; to divert.
    A group of children amusing themselves with pushing stones from the top [of the cliff], and watching as they plunged into the lake. -Gilpin.
  2. To cause laughter, to be funny.
  3. , To keep in expectation; to beguile; to delude.
    He amused his followers with idle promises. -Johnson.
  4. To fling dust or snuff in the eyes of the person intended to be robbed; also to invent some plausible tale, to delude shop-keepers and others, thereby to put them off their guard. (1811 Dictionary of Vulgar Tongue)

Derived terms


to entertain or occupy in a pleasant manner
  • Finnish: viihdyttää
  • German: amüsieren, vergnügen
  • Russian: забавлять , позабавить ; развлекать , развлечь
to cause laughter
  • Finnish: huvittaa
  • German: belustigen, erheitern
archaic: to keep in expectation
  • Russian: завлекать , завлечь ; отвлекать , отвлечь



Extensive Definition

Amusement is the state of experiencing humorous and usually entertaining events or situations, and is associated with enjoyment, happiness, laughter and pleasure. Amusement may also be experienced through the recollection of events which have given rise to amusement in the past.


Humans will typically laugh or smile to display amusement. For most people at some time, situations which would normally elicit amusement may not always have the same effect, due to various reasons such as one's state of mind. People with certain disorders or disabilities may sometimes appear to experience amusement without an obvious cause or reason.
Although various animals may be perceived as experiencing amusement, this may simply be a case of anthropomorphism. Interpretations of "amusement" may be attributed to animals that do not behave as expected, such as where an animal runs instead of walks, or becomes more alert. Other animals such as dogs may wag their tails or spin around, birds may chirp more loudly or frequently, while racoons or bears may not react at all.
However, there are instances of animals reportedly, "playing jokes" on other animals or humans. While they may not show any outward signs of amusement, it would seem as if there is no other explanation.

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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