Meaning of “entertain” in the English Dictionary

"entertain" in British English

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uk /en.təˈteɪn/ us /en.t̬ɚˈteɪn/

entertain verb (AMUSE)

B1 [ I or T ] to keep a group of people interested or enjoying themselves:

We hired a magician to entertain the children.
Most children's television programmes aim to educate and entertain at the same time.

More examples

  • Milligan's anarchic humour has always had the power to offend as well as entertain.
  • Year after year they wheel out the same third-rate celebrities to entertain us.
  • Should the function of children's television be to entertain or to enlighten?
  • The crowd was entertained with a display of aerobatics.
  • The crowds were once again entertained by the number one tennis player's antics on and off the court.

(Definition of “entertain” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"entertain" in American English

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us /ˌen·tərˈteɪn/

entertain verb (AMUSE)

[ I/T ] to keep a person or a group of people interested or amused:

[ I ] Children’s games and books seek to teach and entertain at the same time.
[ T ] Kerry and Bill entertained listeners of their radio show with tales of their adventures on an ocean cruise.

entertain verb (INVITE)

[ I/T ] to invite one or more people to your house and give food and drink to them:

[ T ] She was a good cook and liked to entertain her friends with new dishes.
[ I ] We didn’t entertain much over the holidays this year.

entertain verb (THINK ABOUT)

[ T ] to hold in your mind or to be willing to consider or accept:

He entertained some doubts about how truthful the government was.

(Definition of “entertain” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"entertain" in Business English

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entertainverb [ I or T ]

uk /ˌentəˈteɪn/ us

to take customers or possible customers out to restaurants, bars, theatres, etc. as a way of encouraging them to do business with you:

Employees can use their expense accounts for entertaining a client.

(Definition of “entertain” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)