entertain

verb
en·​ter·​tain | \ ˌen-tər-ˈtān \
entertained; entertaining; entertains

Definition of entertain

transitive verb

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

intransitive verb

: to provide entertainment especially for guests

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from entertain

entertainer noun

Synonyms for entertain

Synonyms

amuse, disport, divert, regale, solace

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 listing also notes that there is a bonus room and a large outdoor patio so there’s plenty of space for entertaining guests. Megan Stein, Country Living, "You Can Buy This Brand-New Farmhouse Designed by Joanna Gaines," 22 Jan. 2019 The result is a boxy, roomy camper that can fit a crowd for entertaining or a family for sleep. Megan Barber, Curbed, "Remote-controlled camper trailer pops up in 30 seconds," 19 Oct. 2018 The statement came as the administration faced a mounting backlash for even entertaining Putin's proposal, which pertained to the Robert Mueller probe. Alex Pappas, Fox News, "Trump invites Putin to visit Washington, White House says," 19 July 2018 The bar area makes entertaining more convenient and provides an additional row of seating. Adrienne Gaffney, WSJ, "An Oscar-Worthy Home Theater in the Family Basement," 16 Jan. 2019 But anyone who has entertained visions of owning a villa in the Italian countryside and spending their days drinking wine against a rolling vineyard backdrop isn’t thinking big enough. Jennifer Fernandez, House Beautiful, "You Can Buy This Stunning Tuscan Castle In Italy," 22 Dec. 2018 Worried about how to keep the kids entertained for hours? Alison Caporimo, Seventeen, "6 Tips For Teen Babysitters That Are Totally Life-Changing," 21 Dec. 2018 And the country’s Paro robot, a therapeutic bot that mimics a baby harp seal, is used in nursing homes to engage and entertain dementia patients. James Vincent, The Verge, "Japan’s latest home robot isn’t useful — it’s designed to be loved," 20 Dec. 2018 Here, two of our favorite hosts weigh in with clever strategies that elevate entertaining to an art form. Talia Abbas, SELF, "How to Throw a Laid-Back Holiday Party at Home, from the Team at A Summer Day Cafe," 6 Dec. 2018

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 1a

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

Statistics for entertain

Last Updated

17 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for entertain

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for entertain

entertain

verb

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 \
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

to express emotion in a dramatic way

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

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!