verb (used with object)
- to hold the attention of pleasantly or agreeably; divert; amuse.
- to have as a guest; provide food, lodging, etc., for; show hospitality to.
- to admit into the mind; consider: He never entertained such ideas.
- to hold in the mind; harbor; cherish: They secretly entertained thoughts of revenge.
- Archaic. to maintain or keep up.
- Obsolete. to give admittance or reception to; receive.
verb (used without object)
- to exercise hospitality; entertain company; provide entertainment for guests: They loved to talk, dance, and entertain.
- to provide amusement for (a person or audience)
- to show hospitality to (guests)
- (tr) to hold in the mindto entertain an idea
late 15c., “to keep up, maintain, to keep (someone) in a certain frame of mind,” from Middle French entretenir (12c.), from Old French entretenir “hold together, stick together, support,” from entre- “among” (from Latin inter; see inter-) + tenir “to hold” (from Latin tenere; see tenet).
Sense of “have a guest” is late 15c.; that of “amuse” is 1620s. Meaning “to allow (something) to consideration” (of opinions, notions, etc.) is 1610s. Related: Entertained; entertaining.