en·​ter·​tain | \ ˌen-tər-ˈtān How to pronounce entertain (audio) \
entertained; entertaining; entertains

Definition of entertain

transitive verb

1 : to show hospitality to entertain guests
2 : to provide entertainment for
3a : 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
4 : to play against (an opposing team) on one's home field or court
5a archaic : maintain
b obsolete : receive

intransitive verb

: to provide entertainment especially for guests

Other Words from entertain

entertainer noun

Synonyms for entertain


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Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of entertain in a Sentence

They like to entertain their friends at their summer home. Much of his job as a salesman involves entertaining clients. Jugglers were on hand to entertain the crowd. Our father entertained us with stories. Our father's stories entertained us.
Recent Examples on the Web Perhaps unsurprisingly, no curator was willing to entertain this idea. Hillary Kelly, The Atlantic, 8 May 2022 Virginia is a longshot to reach the NCAA Tournament as a bubble team, meaning Clark could entertain the idea of coming back for a fifth year to get another shot at March Madness. Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY, 12 Mar. 2022 The ladies refuse to even entertain the idea of the look on themselves. Devon Abelman, Allure, 4 May 2022 The Hallmarks liked to entertain, opening their home in Warrior to friends and family members. Mary Colurso | Mcolurso@al.com, al, 30 Apr. 2022 These chalkboard cheese markers are a no-brainer for any mom who loves to entertain. Emily Vanschmus, Better Homes & Gardens, 15 Apr. 2022 Warner filed his first demurrer challenging her lawsuit in October, saying Walters’ claims were too old for a civil court judge to even entertain. Nancy Dillon, Rolling Stone, 15 Apr. 2022 Alsea was the first district to defy the state mandate, but not the first district or school board to entertain the idea. oregonlive, 22 Feb. 2022 Interestingly, Edwards isn't the first person to entertain the idea of the Cardinals trading Murray for Mayfield. Jeremy Cluff, The Arizona Republic, 12 Feb. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'entertain.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of entertain

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 5a

History and Etymology for entertain

Middle English entertinen, from Middle French entretenir, from entre- inter- + tenir to hold — more at tenable

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Time Traveler for entertain

Time Traveler

The first known use of entertain was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near entertain

enter someone's mind/head



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Statistics for entertain

Last Updated

20 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Entertain.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/entertain. Accessed 27 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for entertain


en·​ter·​tain | \ ˌen-tər-ˈtān How to pronounce entertain (audio) \
entertained; entertaining

Kids Definition of entertain

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

More from Merriam-Webster on entertain

Nglish: Translation of entertain for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of entertain for Arabic Speakers


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