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

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Other Words from entertain

entertainer noun

Synonyms for entertain


amuse, disport, divert, regale, solace

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

For a $7 cover charge — cash only — guests will be entertained by two bands each night. Ginger Brashinger, Daily Southtown, "Proud American Days to close out July with food, fun and entertainment," 11 July 2018 People can only spend so much time being entertained by television. The Economist, "Netflix is moving television beyond time-slots and national markets," 28 June 2018 Ayesha Curry also caught wind of it all (and probably enjoyed the free publicity) Read More undefined Alright alright I’ve been entertained enough for the evening. Langston Wertz Jr., charlotteobserver, "Why Houston Rockets fans are bashing Ayesha Curry's soon-to-open restaurant in Houston.," 21 June 2018 Browse vendors while kids are entertained by hilarious musical puppet whodunnit. Luann Gibbs, Cincinnati.com, "Fun and free events in Cincinnati this weekend," 14 June 2018 If nothing else, Walmart’s customers seemed mildly entertained by this departure from the paint counter’s usual programming, which consisted of my mixing paint for them and occasionally supergluing objects to the countertop out of boredom. Scott Bradlee, Billboard, "Scott Bradlee Shares How Postmodern Jukebox Got Him Fired From Walmart: Exclusive 'Outside the Jukebox' Book Excerpt," 7 June 2018 Dance or walk to the music, be entertained by dance groups, Ramona Martial Arts, and a Ramona High Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps performance, or join in the energetic and popular Zumba. Heather Mcghee, Ramona Sentinel, "16th Annual 24-hour Relay for Life starts at 9 a.m. Saturday," 30 May 2018 This is important because passengers are far more likely to have a positive experience with an airline if they are entertained during their flight. Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY, "Airlines great at customer service? J.D. Power says ‘yes’," 30 May 2018 This is important because passengers are far more likely to have a positive experience with an airline if they are entertained during their flight. Kelly Yamanouchi, ajc, "Delta No. 2 in category for customer satisfaction in J.D. Power study," 30 May 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.

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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

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Statistics for entertain

Last Updated

13 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for entertain

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

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More Definitions for entertain



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)


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.

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Comments on entertain

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