Do you know the meaning of muse? This article will tell you all about the term muse, including its definition, origin, and more.
You may have heard someone say the word muse before, but do you know what it means? From Ben Safdie’s muse Julia Fox in Uncut Gems to the muses of ancient Greece, there are muses all around us.
Read on to discover our complete guide on the term muse, where you’ll learn its definition, origin, synonyms, antonyms, and more.
What Is the Definition of Muse?
Surely you have heard the word muse used before, most likely in reference to a person inspiring an artist. What if we were to tell you that originally muse was a word used in Greek mythology to reference nine goddesses? Or perhaps there are even more meanings behind the word?
Don’t just take our word for it (pun intended); read on to explore these definitions provided by a few trusted dictionaries listed below:
- According to the Cambridge Dictionary, the noun muse is simply a source of inspiration or rather a spirit that is thought to inspire an artist.
- Collins Dictionary defines muse as any of the nine sister goddesses in Greek mythology, all of which presided over either some form of art, poetry, song, or science.
- Alternatively, the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary says that the verb muse can mean to think carefully on a topic for an extended period of time, all while oblivious of what is going on around you.
Despite originally earning its place in the English language as a verb, muse is more commonly known today as the adjective used to describe a person that inspires an artist.
What Is the Origin of Muse?
Muse was first used as a verb in the mid-14th century from the 12th century Old French muser meaning to dream, ponder, or wonder. Muser itself has an uncertain origin.
The noun muse was first used in the late-14th century, as “one of the nine muses of classical mythology” from Middle French muse. Used to reference the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, this word comes from the Old French muse and directly from the Latin musa, inspired by the Greek word mousa meaning music, song, or “the muse.”
When talking about mythology and the word muse, the Muses were nine goddesses that symbolized sciences and arts. The nine muses included:
- Calliope – Epic poetry
- Clio – History
- Erato – Lyric art, love poetry, lyre playing
- Euterpe – Music (chiefly in reference to the flute)
- Melpomene – Tragedy
- Polymnia – Hymns (later on additionally mime)
- Terpsichore – Choral dance and song
- Thalia – Comedy and light verse
- Urania – Astronomy
What Are Synonyms and Antonyms of Muse?
There are many words that we can use in place of muse. These words are called synonyms, which are phrases or words that have the same or similar definition as another word.
Not only do synonyms help to avoid repeating ourselves in conversation they are splendid ways to expand your knowledge of the English Language.
Below are various synonyms of the word muse:
- Think about
- Debate with oneself
- Be in a reverse
- Give some thought to
When a word has the opposite meaning of the original word, that word is called an antonym. As was the case with synonyms, learning antonyms are a great way to memorize the definition of a word.
Antonyms of muse include:
- Brush aside
- Be oblivious to
- Pass over
- Leave out of account
- Pay no mind to
How Can Muse Be Used in a Sentence?
Now that you understand the history and meaning behind muse, let’s review how to properly use muse in a sentence. Try using the word muse in a sentence today!
Below you will find a few examples to help get you started:
The statue of Terpsichore, the Greek muse of dancing, who bore the Sirens, was hands down my favorite sight we saw while on vacation.
Were you aware that Euterpe was a muse for many in Ancient Greek times?
Clearly, you can see the resemblance? That model is clearly the muse for his painting.
Who was my muse who inspired me to relearn the piano? None other than my infant daughter.
Alternate Phrases and Idioms For Muse
Idioms are widely used expressions or even sayings that hold a meaning that differs from the expression’s literal meaning.
Think for a moment when you are feeling down in the dumps or ill; you might say you are feeling “under the weather.” This does not for a moment mean you are standing out in the snow – it simply means you are not feeling well.
Below we have included a few of the more well-known phrases or idioms that use muse – provided by Power Thesaurus:
- Chew the cud
- Chew over
- Build castles in Spain
- Debate with oneself
- Be lost in thought
- Think hard
- Mull something over
- Brown study
- Sleep on it
- Bat it around
- Think over
- Brood over
- Stare into space
- Dwell on
- Reflect on
- Build castles in the air
- Chew the fat
- Chew on a bone
While it was once solely used to reference the nine goddesses of science and the arts, today, a muse is also a person who serves as an artist’s inspiration. All types of artists can have a muse, from painters to musicians to writers.
Muse can also refer to some deep thinking, as in to give something some serious thought. You can not muse in mere moments; people have been known to “muse” on a certain topic for years.