[LMB] bemused by bemused

Hilary Powers hilary at powersedit.com
Fri Sep 4 04:43:31 BST 2015


On 9/3/2015 7:24 PM, Lois McMaster Bujold wrote:
> A couple of my more OCD grammarian fans (of whom I have many, bless 'em)
> have been complaining of my non-dictionary use of the word bemused.
>
> I deploy it to mean: that sort of mildly nonplussed feeling or
> expression when the character is thinking, "Really?  You just said/did
> that?  Huh."  Wryly taken aback, eyebrows up....

Working as an editor, I would never challenge the use of "bemused" to 
mean mildly taken aback. It partakes enough of confusion and distraction 
to fit within the umbrella of what-MW11-says, and besides, authors have 
a whole lot of leeway to use and shift the language as they choose.

> (... For a long time I thought "raddled" meant "degraded or diseased" ...)

Heh. On much the same basis, I was quite sure that "corpulent" meant 
"self-confident and brash" - it was always the cheeky, banty-rooster 
types who got that word applied to them.

-- 
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