2. To divert or to please with anything light or cheerful.
3. To amuse someone with an anecdote, by telling him or her a story; to amuse oneself with a puzzle, with, by, or in sketching; to be amused with a toy or whimsical person, by telling a story about an incident.
4. To cause (time) to pass pleasantly, to entertain agreeably; to "beguile", to while away the time, to enliven.
5. Etymology: from Middle French (1400-1600) amuser, "divert, cause to muse;" from à, "at, to" + muser, "ponder, stare fixedly".
The current meaning "divert, entertain" did not emerge into usage until the 17th century, and the most common application of the verb in the 17th and 18th centuries was to "deceive, cheat". Such meanings seem to have developed from an earlier "bewilder, puzzle", and pointed back to an original sense of "make someone stare open-mouthed". This is thought to link with the probable source of muser, namely muse, an "animal's mouth", from medieval Latin musum from which the English word muzzle came.
Everyone should keep in mind that there is no connection with this muse and the mythological muse from which music and museum are derived.
The sense of "divert from serious business, tickle the fancy of" is recorded from 1631, but through the 18th century, the primary meaning was "deceive, cheat" by first occupying the attention of a person, or people.
These are REAL Headlines with double meanings that have appeared in newspapers from around the world. The list was contributed to this newsletter by a friend; otherwise, the source is unknown.
- March Planned For Next August
- Blind Bishop Appointed To See
- Lingerie Shipment Hijacked - Thief Gives Police The Slip
- L.A. Voters Approve Urban Renewal By Landslide
- Patient At Death's Door - Doctors Pull Him Through
- Diaper Market Bottoms Out
- Stadium Air Conditioning Fails - Fans Protest
- Queen Mary Having Bottom Scraped
- Antique Stripper to Display Wares at Store
- Prostitutes Appeal to Pope
- Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant
- Fund Set Up for Beating Victim's Kin
- Killer Sentenced to Die for Second Time in 10 Years
- Never Withhold Herpes Infection From Loved One
- Autos Killing 110 a Day; Let's Resolve to Do Better
- If Strike Isn't Settled Quickly, It May Last A While
- Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures
- Blind Woman Gets New Kidney from Dad She Hasn't Seen in Years
- Flaming Toilet Seat Causes Evacuation at High School
- Defendants Speech Ends in Long Sentence
- Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers
- Stiff Opposition Expected to Casketless Funeral Plan
- Collegians are Turning to Vegetables
- Quarter of a Million Chinese Live on Water
- Farmer Bill Dies in House
- Eye Drops off Shelf
- Reagan Wins on Budget, But More Lies Ahead
- Miners Refuse to Work after Death
- Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over
- Two Sisters Reunited after 18 Years in Checkout Counter
- Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead
- New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group
- Kids Make Nutritious Snacks
- Deaf College Opens Doors to Hearing
- Prosecutor Releases Probe into Undersheriff
- Old School Pillars are Replaced by Alumni
- Sex Education Delayed, Teachers Request Training
And even in Germany-
From the Mendener Zeitung: "748 Männer arbeiten im Rathaus, 312 davon sind Frauen." (748 men work in the city hall of which 312 are women).
From the March 20, 2000, issue of DER SPIEGEL, page 270.
That reminds me of a statement made by George W. Bush a few weeks ago when he was speaking about children and parental responsibilities; especially, of fathers. I was listening to NPR (National Public Radio) and Bush was saying, "Every father is responsible for his or her children."
Was this an extraordinary effort on his part to be PC (politically correct)?