entertain

verb
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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from entertain

entertainer noun

Synonyms for entertain

Synonyms

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web The following series is designed to entertain and inform—not provide medical advice. Judy Berman, Time, "Gwyneth Paltrow’s Netflix Goop Show Is a High-End Infomercial Masquerading as an Investigative Docuseries," 22 Jan. 2020 The show is entertaining and engaging and thought-provoking. Erin Jensen, USA TODAY, "'The Goop Lab': Gwyneth Paltrow's new Netflix show is delightfully wacky," 17 Jan. 2020 Celebrities visit with toys and games, clowns come to entertain and distract, and the Boy Scouts are setting up tents to help the displaced. Author: Arelis R. Hernández, Cristina Corujo, Anchorage Daily News, "Aftershocks again rattle Puerto Rico as residents deal with disaster after disaster," 12 Jan. 2020 The organization brings free artistic experiences to active duty service members, veterans, and their families to entertain and start conversations about the arts. Bianca Rodriguez, Marie Claire, "Who Is Adam Driver's Wife, Joanne Tucker, the Co-Founder of Arts In The Armed Forces?," 5 Jan. 2020 My goal is to entertain and maybe provoke some discussion about film, food and the true spirit of the holidays. Tim Carman, Houston Chronicle, "The 10 greatest food scenes from holiday movies and what they really mean," 24 Dec. 2019 At Disney California Adventure park, the popular Disney Festival of Holidays is back with new elements to entertain guests and celebrate meaningful traditions associated with Christmas, Navidad, Hanukkah, Diwali, Kwanzaa and Three Kings Day. Advertorial, Orange County Register, "Recipe Corner: Vanilla Pear Mule, Disney Festival of Holidays, Disney California Adventure Park," 3 Dec. 2019 The surprising stories and frozen moments in his work entertained and delighted readers for decades. Edward Koren, The New Yorker, "The Timeless Cartoons of Dana Fradon," 15 Oct. 2019 As of Monday morning, gone were the tweets that entertained and sometimes riled his more than 305,000 followers. Dana Hunsinger Benbow, Indianapolis Star, "Jason Whitlock's Twitter account has been deleted. Here's what he says happened," 9 Sep. 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about entertain

Time Traveler for entertain

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for entertain

Last Updated

3 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Entertain.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/entertain. Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for entertain

entertain

verb
How to pronounce entertain (audio)

English Language Learners 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)

entertain

verb
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.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on entertain

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

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!