You may be confused by the words amused and bemused. They sound so much the same but mean something completely different. This could bemuse some and amuse others. Don’t let it befuddle you because it’s really quite funny. Worry no more we’ll amuse you all as we explain the difference so you won’t be bemused.
Consider the sentences below:
I was amused by his antics.
Is it still confusing? Keep reading.
Amuse originated in late 15th century (in the sense ‘delude, deceive’): from Old French amuser ‘entertain, deceive’, from a- (expressing causal effect) + muser ‘stare stupidly’. Current senses date from the mid 17th century.
Amuse as verb:
Bemuse as verb:
Her bemused expression gave her away.
“Draco was on the upper landing, pleading with another masked Death Eater. Harry stunned the Death Eater as they passed: Malfoy looked around, beaming, for his savior, and Ron punched him from under the cloak. Malfoy fell backward on top of the Death Eater, his mouth bleeding, utterly bemused.” [J.K. Rowling in the novel Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows]
Amuse or bemuse:
Amuse is something that is amusing is entertaining or funny. Bemused means "confused, bewildered, or baffled" and has nothing to do with amusement or humor or anything funny at all. The eighteenth-century poet Alexander Pope first used the word to describe someone who was muddled by liquor or had found a muse in beer. Think of bemused as similar to befuddled and use it to describe only someone who is confused. Avoid bemused in situations where the context is ambiguous enough to leave the reader wondering whether you mean "amused" or “confused."
We hope this article was not bemusing.