use-icon

HOW TO USE THE DICTIONARY

To look up an entry in The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, use the search window above. For best results, after typing in the word, click on the “Search” button instead of using the “enter” key.

Some compound words (like bus rapid transit, dog whistle, or identity theft) don’t appear on the drop-down list when you type them in the search bar. For best results with compound words, place a quotation mark before the compound word in the search window.

guide to the dictionary

use-icon

THE USAGE PANEL

The Usage Panel is a group of nearly 200 prominent scholars, creative writers, journalists, diplomats, and others in occupations requiring mastery of language. Annual surveys have gauged the acceptability of particular usages and grammatical constructions.

The Panelists

puzzle-icon

NEED HELP SOLVING A CROSSWORD PUZZLE?

Go to our Crossword Puzzle Solver and type in the letters that you know, and the Solver will produce a list of possible solutions.

open-icon

AMERICAN HERITAGE DICTIONARY APP

The new American Heritage Dictionary app is now available for iOS and Android.

scroll-icon

THE AMERICAN HERITAGE DICTIONARY BLOG

The articles in our blog examine new words, revised definitions, interesting images from the fifth edition, discussions of usage, and more.

100-words-icon

See word lists from the best-selling 100 Words Series!

Find out more!

open-icon

INTERESTED IN DICTIONARIES?

Check out the Dictionary Society of North America at http://www.dictionarysociety.com

a·muse (ə-myz)
Share:
tr.v. a·mused, a·mus·ing, a·mus·es
1. To hold the attention of or occupy in an agreeable fashion: amused myself with a puzzle.
2. To cause to laugh or smile by being funny: amused the crowd with jokes.
3. Archaic To delude or deceive.

[From Middle French amuser, from Old French, to fill with vain hopes, deceive : a-, to (from Latin ad-; see AD–) + muser, to stare stupidly; see MUSE.]

a·musa·ble adj.
a·muser n.

Synonyms: amuse, entertain, divert, regale
These verbs refer to activities that provide pleasure or enjoyment. Amuse can suggest the idle pleasure derived from a pastime: I amused myself with a game of solitaire. It can also suggest the enjoyment of something humorous or laughable: The antics of the little dog amused the children. Entertain often implies a pleasure actively pursued by the imagination or through play: entertained herself with thoughts of what the weekend would bring; children entertaining themselves with games and puppets. It also refers to the enjoyment derived from artistic performance: has been entertaining audiences with his stories and music for many years. Divert implies distraction from worry, boredom, or low spirits: "I had neither Friends or Books to divert me" (Richard Steele).
To regale is to entertain with something that causes great mirth: "He loved to regale his friends with tales about the many memorable characters he had known as a newspaperman" (David Rosenzweig).

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices

    Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

    Indo-European Roots

    Semitic Roots

    The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.

This website is best viewed in Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, or Safari. Some characters in pronunciations and etymologies cannot be displayed properly in Internet Explorer.