verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)

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 entretenirVulgar Latin *intertenēre, equivalent to Latin inter- inter- + tenēre to hold
Related formso·ver·en·ter·tained, adjectivepre·en·ter·tain, verb (used with object)un·en·ter·tained, adjectivewell-en·ter·tained, adjective

Synonyms for entertain

Synonym study

1. See amuse.

Antonyms for entertain

1. bore. 3. reject.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for entertained

Contemporary Examples of entertained

Historical Examples of entertained

  • It was fortunate that, in this case, no fears could be entertained.


    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • How came she to talk with him, to allow herself to be entertained by him?

  • Mrs Verloc entertained no vain delusions on the subject of the dead.

    The Secret Agent

    Joseph Conrad

  • It was on his account that we were tolerated, nay, even advised and helped and entertained.

    In the Valley

    Harold Frederic

  • Still, it was strange how great a respect for his feelings they entertained.

British Dictionary definitions for entertained



to provide amusement for (a person or audience)
to show hospitality to (guests)
(tr) to hold in the mindto entertain an idea

Word Origin for 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

Word Origin and History for entertained



late 15c., "to keep up, maintain, to keep (someone) in a certain frame of mind," from Middle French entretenir (12c.), from Old French entretenir "hold together, stick together, support," from entre- "among" (from Latin inter; see inter-) + tenir "to hold" (from Latin tenere; see tenet).

Sense of "have a guest" is late 15c.; that of "amuse" is 1620s. Meaning "to allow (something) to consideration" (of opinions, notions, etc.) is 1610s. Related: Entertained; entertaining.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper