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[en-ter-teyn-muh nt] /ˌɛn tərˈteɪn mənt/
the act of entertaining; agreeable occupation for the mind; diversion; amusement:
Solving the daily crossword puzzle is an entertainment for many.
something affording pleasure, diversion, or amusement, especially a performance of some kind:
The highlight of the ball was an elaborate entertainment.
hospitable provision for the needs and wants of guests.
a divertingly adventurous, comic, or picaresque novel.
Obsolete. maintenance in service.
Origin of entertainment
First recorded in 1525-35; entertain + -ment
Related forms
nonentertainment, noun, adjective
preentertainment, noun
self-entertainment, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for entertainment
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • There is a penalty for keeping open, houses of entertainment.

    Sunday under Three Heads Charles Dickens
  • The roads are empty, the fields are deserted, the houses of entertainment are closed.

    Sunday under Three Heads Charles Dickens
  • He engaged me by the six months, and my entertainment was generous.

    To be Read at Dusk Charles Dickens
  • The only thing he thinks of that he can do to help is to give them an evening's entertainment.

    Ester Ried Yet Speaking Isabella Alden
  • She had always lived with children, and constantly had their entertainment in her mind.

    Rico and Wiseli Johanna Spyri
British Dictionary definitions for entertainment


the act or art of entertaining or state of being entertained
an act, production, etc, that entertains; diversion; amusement
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for entertainment

1530s, "provision for support of a retainer; manner of social behavior," now obsolete, along with other 16c. senses; from entertain + -ment. Meaning "the amusement of someone" is from 1610s; "that which entertains" is from 1650s; "public performance or display meant to amuse" is from 1727.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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