Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

entertain

play
verb en·ter·tain \ˌen-tər-ˈtān\

Simple Definition of entertain

  • : 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)

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of entertain

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 a archaic :  maintain b obsolete :  receive

  3. 2 :  to show hospitality to <entertain guests>

  4. 3 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>

  5. 4 :  to provide entertainment for

  6. 5 :  to play against (an opposing team) on one's home field or court

  7. intransitive verb
  8. :  to provide entertainment especially for guests

entertainer

noun

Examples of entertain in a sentence

  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.



Origin and Etymology of entertain

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

entertain

play
verb en·ter·tain \ˌen-tər-ˈtān\

Definition of entertain for Students

entertained

entertaining

  1. 1 :  to host a social event <My parents entertain often.>

  2. 2 :  to have as a guest <entertain friends>

  3. 3 :  to perform for or provide amusement for <Comedians entertained the crowd.>

  4. 4 :  to have in mind <She entertained thoughts of quitting.>





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up entertain? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

at a gallop

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

alphabet-pasta-spelling-help

Which is the correct spelling?

acommadate acommodate accomodate accommodate
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ