Origin: 1470–80; < Middle Frenchamuser to divert, amuse; see a-5, muse
Can be confused: amuse, bemuse (see synonym study at the current entry).
Synonyms 1. please, charm, cheer. Amuse, divert, entertain mean to occupy the attention with something pleasant. That which amuses is usually playful or humorous and pleases the fancy. Divert implies turning the attention from serious thoughts or pursuits to something light, amusing, or lively. That which entertains usually does so because of a plan or program that engages and holds the attention by being pleasing and sometimes instructive.
late 15c., from M.Fr. amuser "divert, cause to muse," from a "at, to" (but here probably a causal prefix) + muser "ponder, stare fixedly." Sense of "divert from serious business, tickle the fancy of" is recorded from 1630s, but through 18c. the primary meaning was "deceive, cheat" by first occupying
the attention. Bemuse retains more of the original meaning.