Definition of entertain in US English:

entertain

verb

[with object]
  • 1Provide (someone) with amusement or enjoyment.

    ‘a tremendous game that thoroughly entertained the crowd’
    • ‘Having bands and DJs is a good way to entertain your guests and bring in a crowd.’
    • ‘The game modes should provide the gamer a plethora of scenarios to challenge and entertain the user.’
    • ‘They are easy to maintain, and can entertain their owners and themselves for hours.’
    • ‘I longed to tell them the game had most likely been made to entertain babies, but I resisted.’
    • ‘Street performers from the world over entertain the crowd whilst buskers provide the soundtrack.’
    • ‘The recreation centre also has indoor games, magazines and a television set to entertain the highway users.’
    • ‘Music and a raffle entertained the crowds amidst the stories of historic games and victories for the club.’
    • ‘At least we were thoroughly entertained throughout our main course.’
    • ‘Despite this, fielding gives essence to the game and entertains the fans.’
    • ‘Crowds jostle and a six-piece jazz band begins to entertain the captive audience as the rain sheets down outside.’
    • ‘Whether that crowd consists of Elizabethan tradesmen or Harvard postmodernists, Shakespeare entertains his audiences while challenging them to think.’
    • ‘They will entertain the kids and accompany them on special bear trails.’
    • ‘We've got to be an organized team that is based on a skating game and entertains the fans.’
    • ‘Some of those so called old-fashioned games can still entertain the crowd.’
    • ‘The Captain entertains kids with magic tricks, games, crafts and fun activities designed to take their mind of being in hospital.’
    • ‘The fans are entertained, and the game can only benefit from the excitement.’
    • ‘The event manager provides volunteers who entertain the children and make sure the adults also have fun.’
    • ‘He was thoroughly entertained by a grotesque comedy that satirized a group of celebrities.’
    • ‘They maintain the enviable skill of being able to entertain an audience young and old.’
    • ‘Dedicated volunteers entertain the members with games of cards and bingo, while some just meet up for a chat and a cup of tea.’
    amuse, divert, distract, delight, please, charm, cheer, beguile, interest, fascinate, enthral, engage, involve, occupy, absorb, immerse, engross, preoccupy, hold the attention of
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    1. 1.1 Receive (someone) as a guest and provide them with food and drink.
      ‘a private dining room where members could entertain groups of friends’
      • ‘Two hundred guests were entertained to an eloquent and sumptuous wedding feast in a very elaborate and stylish reception hall.’
      • ‘He often entertains family and friends coming to the wine country on weekends.’
      • ‘Having bar furniture in your house, you will be able to entertain friends and guests more easily.’
      • ‘I have no place to plant an herb garden, and there simply isn't room for us to entertain family and friends.’
      • ‘‘It is a splendid place to entertain guests or clients,’ says a member who asks not to be named.’
      • ‘We spent countless summer nights entertaining family and friends in our new gazebo.’
      • ‘It is on their behalf, therefore, that he is taking action if he entertains guests and gives them food and drink.’
      • ‘Advertisers and invited guests were entertained to a lunch of Pembrokeshire produce.’
      • ‘Two weeks after the wedding, the couple entertains family and friends at a gala called a ‘Second Sunday.’’
      • ‘Most families had a house for sleeping and a small cook house in the back, and some had a guest house for entertaining visitors.’
      receive, play host to, play hostess to, show hospitality to, invite to a meal, invite to a party, invite, invite over, invite round, ask, ask over, ask round, have, have over, have round, give someone a meal, throw a party for
      receive guests, have guests, play host, play hostess, provide hospitality, have people over, have people round, have company, hold a party, throw a party, keep open house, have a dinner party, have a lunch party
      View synonyms
  • 2Give attention or consideration to (an idea, suggestion, or feeling)

    ‘Washington entertained little hope of an early improvement in relations’
    • ‘It allows us to entertain the idea of rebellion, diffusing that feeling without having to act upon it.’
    • ‘I toured other churches, entertained different ideas, saw things from another perspective.’
    • ‘One doesn't have to be a conspiracy theorist to entertain the idea.’
    • ‘Patrick only entertained these imaginings for a second before he dismissed them as childish and silly .’
    • ‘However, if you've ever entertained the idea of catching a steelhead, the time to act is now.’
    • ‘Down the road, she is entertaining the idea of applying for a license to train young girls how to box.’
    • ‘When he came into her life, she had reached a stage where she was completely happy not to entertain the idea of marrying again.’
    • ‘So I began entertaining the idea of making a martial arts film.’
    • ‘I would not expect them to even entertain the idea that they could report simultaneously as a battle was taking place.’
    • ‘Unless there's a specific call about it, I can't even entertain the idea.’
    • ‘You say there are some compelling reasons to at least entertain the idea of lifting the ban.’
    • ‘It is possible to entertain the idea that the bank had a point.’
    • ‘At the beginning of the hearing, I entertained considerable sympathy for the predicament in which he found himself.’
    • ‘Granted, the novel isn't gleeful, but there's enough levity to entertain the idea of lasting love.’
    • ‘She has been reported to entertain the idea of freezing the process of constitutional amendments altogether.’
    • ‘What amazed me was that my company director entertained this idea and sounded genuinely interested in participating.’
    • ‘Again the retail sector's cynics refused to entertain the idea.’
    • ‘The lawyer denied having entertained the idea for a second.’
    • ‘Ashamedly we did entertain the idea of making him swim to the station.’
    • ‘And he added that the company would be more than happy to entertain the idea of some sort of interchange if passengers wanted it.’
    consider, give consideration to, take into consideration, think about, contemplate, give thought to, bear in mind
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Origin

Late Middle English: from French entretenir, based on Latin inter ‘among’ + tenere ‘to hold’. The word originally meant ‘maintain, continue’, later ‘maintain in a certain condition, treat in a certain way’, also ‘show hospitality’ (late 15th century).

Pronunciation

entertain

/ˌɛn(t)ərˈteɪn//ˌen(t)ərˈtān/