[ en-ter-teyn ]
See synonyms for: entertainentertainedentertaining on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object)
  1. to hold the attention of pleasantly or agreeably; divert; amuse.

  2. to have as a guest; provide food, lodging, etc., for; show hospitality to.

  1. to admit into the mind; consider: He never entertained such ideas.

  2. to hold in the mind; harbor; cherish: They secretly entertained thoughts of revenge.

  3. Archaic. to maintain or keep up.

  4. 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.

Origin of entertain

1425–75; late Middle English entertenen to hold mutually <Middle French entretenir ≪ Vulgar Latin *intertenēre, equivalent to Latin inter-inter- + tenēre to hold

synonym study For entertain

1. See amuse.

Other words for entertain

Opposites for entertain

Other words from entertain

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

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use entertain in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for entertain


/ (ˌɛntəˈteɪn) /

  1. to provide amusement for (a person or audience)

  2. to show hospitality to (guests)

  1. (tr) to hold in the mind: to entertain an idea

Origin of entertain

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

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