tr.v. a·mused, a·mus·ing, a·mus·es
1. To hold the attention of or occupy in an agreeable fashion: amused myself with a puzzle.
2. To cause to laugh or smile by being funny: amused the crowd with jokes.
3. Archaic To delude or deceive.
[From Middle French amuser, from Old French, to fill with vain hopes, deceive : a-, to (from Latin ad-; see AD–) + muser, to stare stupidly; see MUSE.]
Synonyms: amuse, entertain, divert, regale
These verbs refer to activities that provide pleasure or enjoyment. Amuse can suggest the idle pleasure derived from a pastime: I amused myself with a game of solitaire. It can also suggest the enjoyment of something humorous or laughable: The antics of the little dog amused the children. Entertain often implies a pleasure actively pursued by the imagination or through play: entertained herself with thoughts of what the weekend would bring; children entertaining themselves with games and puppets. It also refers to the enjoyment derived from artistic performance: has been entertaining audiences with his stories and music for many years. Divert implies distraction from worry, boredom, or low spirits: "I had neither Friends or Books to divert me" (Richard Steele).
To regale is to entertain with something that causes great mirth: "He loved to regale his friends with tales about the many memorable characters he had known as a newspaperman" (David Rosenzweig).
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.