[en-ter-teyn-muh nt]


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 formsnon·en·ter·tain·ment, noun, adjectivepre·en·ter·tain·ment, nounself-en·ter·tain·ment, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for entertainment

Contemporary Examples of entertainment

Historical Examples of entertainment

  • The roads are empty, the fields are deserted, the houses of entertainment are closed.

  • There is a penalty for keeping open, houses of entertainment.

  • 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.

  • 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

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