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

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Other Words from entertain

entertainer noun

Synonyms for entertain

Synonyms

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

Entertainment: Guests of the Fear District will be entertained by local performers who will serve as scare actors. Jordyn Noennig, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The Deer District becomes the Fear District with haunted houses, Halloween movies and more beginning Sept. 26," 3 Sep. 2019 Following a light meal, the guests were entertained by comic strip writer Duane Abel. Mary Jane Brewer, cleveland.com, "Medina County Parks District honors volunteers," 1 Sep. 2019 Between barrel racing, team roping and bull riding, Trent McFarland kept attendees entertained by lassoing, dancing and stealing their phones and taking selfies. Samantha Davenport, Anchorage Daily News, "Daredevils, funnel cake, bonsai: Scenes from the Alaska State Fair," 29 Aug. 2019 While the stands weren't packed, fans in attendance were still entertained by 34 former MLB players on the Stars' roster. Robert Rimpson, The Courier-Journal, "MLB stars and local legends shine in first outing of 2019 Bluegrass World Series," 8 Aug. 2019 For the past 41 years, Philadelphia Phillies fans have been entertained by the Phillie Phanatic, the team’s green and furry mascot. Michael Mccann, SI.com, "Will Phillies Have to Ditch Phillie Phanatic Mascot?," 6 Aug. 2019 What’s difficult, however, is to be fully entertained by it. Hank Stuever, Houston Chronicle, "Review: A convoluted ‘Stranger Things’ follows its primal ’80s urges to one monster of a mall," 6 July 2019 The problem with making an exhaustive catalog of the craziest theories entertained by Americans over the last 200 years is that today’s almost seem to pale by comparison. J.c. Pan, The New Republic, "Democratic Rot and the Origins of American Conspiracism," 3 July 2019 Even Formula 1 crowds have been entertained by one-make races. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "What’s it like to race a Jaguar I-Pace electric car?," 20 June 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.

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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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Statistics for entertain

Last Updated

15 Sep 2019

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

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 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.

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Comments on entertain

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