The Meaning and Origin of Entertaiment


Article by: SU2C Staff

The word entertainment is often thought of as having a purely amusing or playful character, but it also can have serious applications, such as the role played by satire or other forms of social criticism. The range of entertainment is also vast, extending from an individual’s choice of private amusement to a dinner adapted for two; from a banquet for many to a performance intended for thousands.

These examples are programmatically selected from corpora and may not reflect the views of Merriam-Webster or its editors.

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Entertainment is derived from the Latin intertenere, with the prefix inter meaning ‘inside’ and the suffix tenere referring to a stretching or elongating of an object. For more on this fascinating etymology, see the fall 2011 issue of Transformational Entertainment News.