[ en-ter-tey-ning ]
/ ˌɛn tərˈteɪ nɪŋ /


affording entertainment; amusing; diverting: We spent an entertaining evening at the theater.

Nearby words

  1. enterprise zone,
  2. enterpriser,
  3. enterprising,
  4. entertain,
  5. entertainer,
  6. entertainment,
  7. enthalpy,
  8. enthesis,
  9. enthesitis,
  10. enthesopathy

Origin of entertaining

First recorded in 1615–25; entertain + -ing2

Related forms


[ en-ter-teyn ]
/ ˌɛn tərˈteɪn /

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

Synonym study

1. See amuse.

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for entertaining

British Dictionary definitions for entertaining


/ (ˌɛntəˈteɪnɪŋ) /


serving to entertain or give pleasure; diverting; amusing
Derived Formsentertainingly, adverb


/ (ˌɛntəˈteɪn) /


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 entertaining



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