Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Muse


The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day is muse. Read on for what it means, how it’s used, and more.

What It Means

To muse about something is to think about it carefully and thoroughly. The word can also mean “to become absorbed in thought,” or “to think or say something in a thoughtful way.”

// The conversation meandered, as the cousins mused about what had changed and what had remained the same since the last family reunion.

MUSE in Context

“In the first single, ‘Canola Fields,’ the singer is musing about a long-ago love, and the song sounds as intimate as a conversation and as infectiously vibrant as a roadhouse rocker.” — Jay N. Miller, The Patriot Ledger (Quincy, Massachusetts), 14 June 2022

Did You Know?

Muse on this: the word muse comes from the Anglo-French muser, meaning “to gape, to idle, to muse.” (Amuse has the same source.) The image evoked is one of a thinker so absorbed in thought as to be unconsciously open-mouthed. Those who muse on their pets’ musings might like to know that muser is ultimately from Latin musus, meaning “mouth of an animal”—also source of the word muzzle. The sister goddesses of Greek mythology known as the Muses have no etymological link: that word, which in lowercase refers to a source of inspiration, comes from Greek Mousa. The ultimate Greek origin of the word museum translates as “of the Muses.”

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