Muse is a word that refers to a source of inspiration, someone or something that inspires an artist, writer, thinker or any creative endeavor. It comes from the Muses, nine goddesses in Greek mythology who inspired the arts, literature, science, and music, the daughter of Zeus and Mnemosyne (the Titaness of memory): Calliope(the goddess of epic poetry), Clio (history), Erato (lyrical poetry), Euterpe (music), Melpomene (tragedy), Polyhymnia (religious music), Terpsichore (dance), Thalia (comedy), and Urania (astronomy). The origin of the word comes from Latin musa via Ancient Greek mousa (Muse) ultimately derived from PIE *men- (to think).
Muse is also an English verb referring to someone absorbed or lost in their own thoughts, or who says something carefully or thoughtfully. The origin of this word comes from Old French muser (to ponder; to think about), of uncertain origin though possibly deriving from Medieval Latin museum (muzzle, snout) from a PIE root word.
Muse is also the name of a Somali clan which seems to be the Somali form of Moses, the name of an important figure in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The name is of uncertain etymology. It’s often been linked to Hebrew moshe meaning “draw out (of water)”, a reference to his being found in the river, but that seems to be folk etymology. It’s possible that the name may be Egyptian in origin meaning “to give birth” or “child, son” deriving from an Egyptian root word.
Muse is also a surname with two possible origins. It could have originated from a French surname from French muse (amusement), though as an English surname it could have arisen from Old English mǣws, the plural form of mǣw meaning “gull, seagull” from Old English which derives from a Proto-Germanic origin, or it could be derived from Middle English mewe, referring to a cage used for hawks as they were molting.
Origin: Proto-Indo-European, Eyptian, Proto-Germanic
- Musa (Latin
- Mousa (Ancient Greek)
- Musetta (English, Italian)