Amuse vs. bemuse

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Something that is amusing is entertaining or funny. Bemusing has an almost opposite meaning. Bemuse means (1) to cause to be bewildered or to confuse, and (2) to cause to be engrossed in thought. Neither of these effects are funny or entertaining.


The technology-driven world in which we live today would bemuse even our most recent ancestors. [Wesleyan Argus]

West Brom manager Roberto di Matteo said he was bemused by the referee’s decision not to award his side a penalty. [BBC Sport]

David Platt was left scratching his head in bemusement on Saturday after another Irish Cup farce. [Coleraine Today]

Or is he the avatar of a bemusing guerrilla ad campaign for products unknown? [New York Times]