What Is Entertainment?

A clown at a kid’s birthday party, the Broadway show, your friends fighting over the last potato chip—all are forms of entertainment. From the Old French entretenir, to hold together or support, the word entertainment originally referred to hospitality, keeping guests happy. Today we use it to refer to all sorts of amusement and distraction: theatrical entertainment as shows, visual entertainment as stuff to look at, audio entertainment as mostly music. These example sentences are selected automatically from various online sources to reflect current usage of the word ‘entertainment.’ Views expressed in these examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors.