The Simpsons once made a joke that played directly on the difference between the two--If I remember correctly, Ned Flanders created a Christian theme park to honor his late wife's memory. When people stood in front of the statue of her they started to convulse and speak in tongues. A miracle? No, the statue was near a gas leak, and the park was shut down. Someone, possibly Chief Wiggum, observed to the crushed Ned, "Looks like your amusement park is more of a bemusement park." Rimshot!
I get the joke, but the first time I heard it it was funny to me for a different reason. I thought the wordplay was not about the definition, but was distinguishing A-musing from B-musing, as in, not on the A-list. I think it kind of works on that level, if only because it sounds funny, and clearly that which is not an A is a lower or lesser thing. The sound of it reinforces the other meaning, too. Of course, over-thinking a joke tends to kill it, but it still caught my interest.
Do you have a pet peeve around any misused words? Do you like the new words that are being created through mishearing and repetition? Not so much "refudiate," but I noticed a repairman here pointing to a drip said, "See? It's condensating." That's not a word, but neither is "conversate," a verb that evolved from hip-hop lyrics into everyday speech, probably because it scans well and has a nice hard "T" sound to tap at the end. What were you doing yesterday when I called? Oh, you know, just hanging out, conversating. It's bemusing, but also makes a kind of sense.