February 19, 2017
Word of the Day
She had neither asked for nor expected her newfound celebrity, and was bemused by all the attention she was receiving.
"I have no interest in bemusing an audience or puzzling an audience. I don't think my plays are difficult. When they're spoken of in those terms, I'm always surprised." - Tom Stoppard, quoted in The San Francisco Chronicle, 10 Oct. 2016
- DID YOU KNOW?
In 1735, British poet Alexander Pope lamented, in rhyme, being besieged by "a parson much bemus'd in beer." The cleric in question was apparently one of a horde of would-be poets who plagued Pope with requests that he read their verses. Pope meant that the parson had found his muse-his inspiration-in beer. That use of bemused harks back to a 1705 letter in which Pope wrote of "Poets irrecoverably Be-mus'd." In both letter and poem, Pope used bemused to allude to being inspired by or devoted to one of the Muses, the Greek sister goddesses of art, music, and literature. The lexicographers who followed him, however, interpreted "bemus'd in beer" as meaning "left confused by beer," and their confusion gave rise to the first modern sense of bemused above.
- SHARE THIS WORD OF THE DAY
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
Subscribe to the Word of the Day e-mail