View synonyms for entertain


[ en-ter-teyn ]

verb (used with object)

  1. to hold the attention of pleasantly or agreeably; divert; amuse.

    Synonyms: regale, beguile

    Antonyms: bore

  2. to have as a guest; provide food, lodging, etc., for; show hospitality to.
  3. to admit into the mind; consider:

    He never entertained such ideas.

    Antonyms: reject

  4. to hold in the mind; harbor; cherish:

    They secretly entertained thoughts of revenge.

  5. Archaic. to maintain or keep up.
  6. Obsolete. to give admittance or reception to; receive.

verb (used without object)

  1. to exercise hospitality; entertain company; provide entertainment for guests:

    They loved to talk, dance, and entertain.


/ ˌɛntəˈteɪn /


  1. to provide amusement for (a person or audience)
  2. to show hospitality to (guests)
  3. tr to hold in the mind

    to entertain an idea

Discover More

Other Words From

  • over·enter·tained adjective
  • preen·ter·tain verb (used with object)
  • unen·ter·tained adjective
  • well-en·ter·tained adjective

Discover More

Word History and Origins

Origin of entertain1

First recorded in 1425–75; late Middle English entertenen “to hold mutually,” from Middle French entretenir, ultimately from Vulgar Latin intertenēre (unrecorded), from Latin inter- inter- + tenēre “to hold”

Discover More

Word History and Origins

Origin of entertain1

C15: from Old French entretenir, from entre- mutually + tenir to hold, from Latin tenēre

Discover More

Synonym Study

See amuse.

Discover More

Example Sentences

I know how to do other things, but my gifts, my passion, what God has given me is to entertain and make people feel good and change lives in the sense of through what it is that God gave me.

From Ozy

It does not “think” before speaking, insofar as this involves entertaining an idea and matching words to the components of a proposition that expresses it.

Instead I spend that time feeding and entertaining my kids, walking my dogs, chasing deadlines, taking meetings, and fixing stuff around the house.

This week’s curated collection of movies to keep you entertained during quarantine focuses on the leading ladies—a group of outstanding performers who were nominated for Academy Awards for their work in recent LGBTQ-themed movies.

It’s, therefore, no surprise that many consumers have sought some relief from reality, with lighthearted and entertaining becoming more popular than ever before.

Does any of that come from being attuned to the pressure of that need to entertain?

“The entertainers still entertain—and the people still have to get an ass-kicking to go out and vote,” Cosby said.

Creator Rod Serling was compelled by the need “not to just entertain but to enlighten.”

“Nakarin loves to cook and I love to entertain,” says Yariv.

So many families come that Vargas has arranged for a clown to entertain the kids.

We resolved to do our best to merit the good opinion which we thus supposed them to entertain of us.

A fancy came into my head that I would entertain the king and queen with an English tune upon this instrument.

David Arden's immensely increased wealth enables him to entertain very magnificent plans for this young man.

Beside this work there were friends to entertain, half the girldom in Dunellen were her friends or had been at some time.

While the white visitors were staying here, the King of Cebu did all he could to entertain them.