Word Origin & History
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.
c.1600, "cheating;" see amuse
. Sense of "interesting" is from 1712; that of "pleasantly entertaining, tickling to the fancy" is from 1826. Noted late 1920s as a vogue word.