What does entertain mean?

Definitions for entertain
ˌɛn tərˈteɪnen·ter·tain

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word entertain.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. entertainverb

    provide entertainment for

  2. entertain, think of, toy with, flirt with, think aboutverb

    take into consideration, have in view

    "He entertained the notion of moving to South America"

  3. harbor, harbour, hold, entertain, nurseverb

    maintain (a theory, thoughts, or feelings)

    "bear a grudge"; "entertain interesting notions"; "harbor a resentment"


  1. entertainverb

    To amuse (someone); .

    The motivational speaker not only instructed but also entertained the audience.

  2. entertainverb

    To have someone over at one's home for a party or visit.

    They enjoy entertaining a lot.

  3. entertainverb

    To have a thought in mind.

    The committee would like to entertain the idea of reducing the budget figures.

  4. Etymology: From entretenir, from entre + tenir, from inter + teneo. For the noun, compare entretien.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. To ENTERTAINverb

    Etymology: entretenir, French.

    His head was so well stored a magazine, that nothing could be proposed which he was not readily furnished to entertain any one in. John Locke.

    You shall find an apartment fitted up for you, and shall be every day entertained with beef or mutton of my own feeding. Joseph Addison, Spectator, №. 549.

    Be not forgetful to entertain strangers; for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Heb. iii. 2.

    Heav’n, set ope thy everlasting gates,
    To entertain my vows of thanks and praise. William Shakespeare, Hen. VI.

    How many men would you require to the furnishing of this which you take in hand? And how long space would you have them entertained? Edmund Spenser, Ireland.

    You, sir, I entertain for one of my hundred; only, I do not like the fashion of your garments. William Shakespeare, King Lear.

    I’ll weep and sigh,
    And, leaving so his service, follow you,
    So please you entertain me. William Shakespeare, Cymbeline.

    This is the severest purpose God can entertain towards us. Decay of Piety.

    David entertained himself with the meditations of God’s law, not his hidden decrees or counsels. Decay of Piety.

    The history of the Royal Society shews how well philosophy becometh a narration: the progress of knowledge is as entertaining as that of arms. Henry Felton, on the Classicks.

    They were capable of entertaining themselves on a thousand different subjects, without running into the common topicks. Joseph Addison, on Ancient Medals.

    In gardens, art can only reduce the beauties of nature to a figure which the common eye may better take in, and is therefore more entertained with. Alexander Pope, Iliads. Pref. to the.

    Reason can never permit the mind to entertain probability, in opposition to knowledge and certainty. John Locke.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Entertainverb

    to be at the charges of; to take or keep in one's service; to maintain; to support; to harbor; to keep

  2. Entertainverb

    to give hospitable reception and maintenance to; to receive at one's board, or into one's house; to receive as a guest

  3. Entertainverb

    to engage the attention of agreeably; to amuse with that which makes the time pass pleasantly; to divert; as, to entertain friends with conversation, etc

  4. Entertainverb

    to give reception to; to receive, in general; to receive and take into consideration; to admit, treat, or make use of; as, to entertain a proposal

  5. Entertainverb

    to meet or encounter, as an enemy

  6. Entertainverb

    to keep, hold, or maintain in the mind with favor; to keep in the mind; to harbor; to cherish; as, to entertain sentiments

  7. Entertainverb

    to lead on; to bring along; to introduce

  8. Entertainverb

    to receive, or provide entertainment for, guests; as, he entertains generously

  9. Entertainnoun


  10. Etymology: [Cf. F. entretien, fr. entretenir.]

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Entertain

    en-tėr-tān′, v.t. to receive and treat hospitably: to hold the attention of and amuse by conversation: to amuse: to receive and take into consideration: to keep or hold in the mind: to harbour.—n. Entertain′er.—p.adj. Entertain′ing, affording entertainment: amusing.—adv. Entertain′ingly.—n. Entertain′ment, act of entertaining: hospitality at table: that which entertains: the provisions of the table: a banquet: amusement: a performance which delights. [Fr. entretenir—L. inter, among, tenēre, to hold.]

Matched Categories

British National Corpus

  1. Verbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'entertain' in Verbs Frequency: #913

Anagrams for entertain »

  1. Tarentine

  2. terentian

How to pronounce entertain?

How to say entertain in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of entertain in Chaldean Numerology is: 5

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of entertain in Pythagorean Numerology is: 7

Examples of entertain in a Sentence

  1. Demosthenes:

    It is impossible for those who are engaged in low and grovelling pursuits to entertain noble and generous sentiments. Their thoughts must always necessarily be somewhat similar to their employments.

  2. Jennifer Dukarski:

    But as the number of incidents build, you'll find someone who will entertain a class action [lawsuit] dealing with a product defect.

  3. Finn Lanning:

    It is more expensive than I anticipated to entertain a 13-year-old.

  4. Mary Manin Morrissey:

    Put love first. Entertain thoughts that give life. And when a thought or resentment, or hurt, or fear comes your way, have another thought that is more powerful -- a thought that is love.

  5. Marjorie Dannenfelser:

    I would ask Sarah Palin to take a look at who Trump has said he might have as his VP. Scott Brown is absolutely unacceptable to the pro-life movement and should be unacceptable to her, she should not endorse a candidate that would entertain a pro-choice vice president. That's my view.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for entertain

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

Get even more translations for entertain »


Find a translation for the entertain definition in other languages:

Select another language:

  • - Select -
  • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
  • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
  • Español (Spanish)
  • Esperanto (Esperanto)
  • 日本語 (Japanese)
  • Português (Portuguese)
  • Deutsch (German)
  • العربية (Arabic)
  • Français (French)
  • Русский (Russian)
  • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
  • 한국어 (Korean)
  • עברית (Hebrew)
  • Gaeilge (Irish)
  • Українська (Ukrainian)
  • اردو (Urdu)
  • Magyar (Hungarian)
  • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
  • Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Italiano (Italian)
  • தமிழ் (Tamil)
  • Türkçe (Turkish)
  • తెలుగు (Telugu)
  • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
  • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • Čeština (Czech)
  • Polski (Polish)
  • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Românește (Romanian)
  • Nederlands (Dutch)
  • Ελληνικά (Greek)
  • Latinum (Latin)
  • Svenska (Swedish)
  • Dansk (Danish)
  • Suomi (Finnish)
  • فارسی (Persian)
  • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
  • հայերեն (Armenian)
  • Norsk (Norwegian)
  • English (English)

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:

Discuss these entertain definitions with the community:



    Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


    "entertain." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 9 Dec. 2022. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/entertain>.

    Are we missing a good definition for entertain? Don't keep it to yourself...

    Image or illustration of


    Credit »

    Browse Definitions.net

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Chrome

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Firefox

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!


    Are you a words master?

    showing intellectual penetration or emotional depth
    • A. plush
    • B. dangerous
    • C. hatched
    • D. profound

    Nearby & related entries:

    Alternative searches for entertain: