What does " to keep somebody amused" mean? Context:

But at least he’s sneaking in a cheeseburger so that should keep him amused while I write this.

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    Welcome to the site. This is general reference; amused is used in the sense of keep the attention of someone. – choster Sep 20 '13 at 20:37
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    I don't think OP's example is a very appropriate usage. Most people don't think in terms of being "amused" by cheeseburgers - they'd be far more likely to say "That should keep him occupied while I write." – FumbleFingers Sep 20 '13 at 20:44
  • I see a cat you give a ball of yarn. That would keep him amused and occupied – mplungjan Sep 20 '13 at 21:12
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    They might not be "amused" with a cheeseburger, @FumbleFingers, but I think the questioner is looking for the general case. Like if you were a video game fanatic and someone handed you the latest edition of World of Warcraft. That would definitely keep you amused (while they ran off with your silverware). – Cyberherbalist Sep 20 '13 at 22:12
  • You must always cite the source of the quotation. Also, provide sufficient context. – Kris Sep 21 '13 at 7:20

Keeping someone amused in this context is to keep him occupied and not noticing as you do something he might object to, or perhaps if the person has been annoying you, to get their attention onto something or someone else.

You can use "occupied" instead of "amused" if you like, just as @FumbleFingers said. I've seen this used both ways.

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  • Amused might be a little subtler than occupied. I can be occupied by work, but it certainly does not amuse me. – TsSkTo Sep 20 '13 at 22:43
  • So use the appropriate word. One could use "amused", "occupied", "diverted", or any number of other words that would give a similar idea. Your comment is definitely keeping me distracted from more important things, for example, @TsSkTo. – Cyberherbalist Sep 20 '13 at 22:49
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    These are squares and rectangles.. Something that is amusing will keep you occupied, but something that occupies you is not necessarily amusing. I think it's important to make that distinction, meaning that you can't use "occupied" instead of "amused" if you like – TsSkTo Sep 20 '13 at 23:03

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