verb en·ter·tain \ˌen-tər-ˈtān\

: to have people as guests in your home or in a public place (such as a restaurant)

: to perform for (an audience) : to provide amusement for (someone) by singing, acting, etc.

: to provide or be entertainment for (someone)

Full Definition of ENTERTAIN

transitive verb
a archaic :  maintain
b obsolete :  receive
:  to show hospitality to <entertain guests>
a :  to keep, hold, or maintain in the mind <I entertain grave doubts about her sincerity>
b :  to receive and take into consideration <refused to entertain our plea>
:  to provide entertainment for
:  to play against (an opposing team) on one's home field or court
intransitive verb
:  to provide entertainment especially for guests
en·ter·tain·er noun

Examples of ENTERTAIN

  1. They like to entertain their friends at their summer home.
  2. Much of his job as a salesman involves entertaining clients.
  3. Jugglers were on hand to entertain the crowd.
  4. Our father entertained us with stories.
  5. Our father's stories entertained us.


Middle English entertinen, from Middle French entretenir, from entre- inter- + tenir to hold — more at tenable
First Known Use: 15th century

Synonym Discussion of ENTERTAIN

amuse, divert, entertain mean to pass or cause to pass the time pleasantly. amuse suggests that one's attention is engaged lightly <amuse yourselves while I make dinner>. divert implies distracting attention from worry or routine occupation especially by something funny <a light comedy to divert the tired businessman>. entertain suggests supplying amusement by specially contrived methods <a magician entertaining children at a party>.
ENTERTAIN Defined for Kids


verb en·ter·tain \ˌen-tər-ˈtān\

Definition of ENTERTAIN for Kids

:  to host a social event <My parents entertain often.>
:  to have as a guest <entertain friends>
:  to perform for or provide amusement for <Comedians entertained the crowd.>
:  to have in mind <She entertained thoughts of quitting.>


Next Word in the Dictionary: entertainingPrevious Word in the Dictionary: enterprisingAll Words Near: entertain
July 03, 2015
interpellate Hear it
to formally question a public official
Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears