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[en-ter-tey-ning] /ˌɛn tərˈteɪ nɪŋ/
affording entertainment; amusing; diverting:
We spent an entertaining evening at the theater.
Origin of entertaining
1615-25; entertain + -ing2
Related forms
entertainingly, adverb
nonentertaining, adjective
quasi-entertaining, adjective
self-entertaining, adjective
unentertaining, adjective
unentertainingly, adverb


[en-ter-teyn] /ˌɛn tərˈteɪn/
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.
1425-75; late Middle English entertenen to hold mutually < Middle French entretenirVulgar Latin *intertenēre, equivalent to Latin inter- inter- + tenēre to hold
Related forms
overentertained, adjective
preentertain, verb (used with object)
unentertained, adjective
well-entertained, adjective
1. beguile, regale. See amuse.
1. bore. 3. reject. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for entertaining
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • You're such a chatty, entertaining, communicative cuss on first acquaintance, too.

    Kent Knowles: Quahaug Joseph C. Lincoln
  • The wine account—there is one, but it ought to be Mrs. Whitney's; for entertaining.

    The Bacillus of Beauty Harriet Stark
  • Mrs. Heth was entertaining a lunch-party of seven ladies, her contemporaries, at two o'clock this day.

    V. V.'s Eyes Henry Sydnor Harrison
  • Naturally he will be asked about everywhere, and there'll be loads of entertaining to do in return.

    Ruggles of Red Gap Harry Leon Wilson
  • They are entertaining a good deal—a judicious sprinkling of the fashionable and the literary.

British Dictionary definitions for entertaining


serving to entertain or give pleasure; diverting; amusing
Derived Forms
entertainingly, adverb


to provide amusement for (a person or audience)
to show hospitality to (guests)
(transitive) to hold in the mind: to entertain an idea
Word Origin
C15: from Old French entretenir, from entre- mutually + tenir to hold, from Latin tenēre
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for entertaining



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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entertaining in the Bible

Entertainments, "feasts," were sometimes connected with a public festival (Deut. 16:11, 14), and accompanied by offerings (1 Sam. 9:13), in token of alliances (Gen. 26:30); sometimes in connection with domestic or social events, as at the weaning of children (Gen. 21:8), at weddings (Gen. 29:22; John 2:1), on birth-days (Matt. 14:6), at the time of sheep-shearing (2 Sam. 13:23), and of vintage (Judg. 9:27), and at funerals (2 Sam. 3:35; Jer. 16:7). The guests were invited by servants (Prov. 9:3; Matt. 22:3), who assigned them their respective places (1 Sam. 9:22; Luke 14:8; Mark 12:39). Like portions were sent by the master to each guest (1 Sam. 1:4; 2 Sam. 6:19), except when special honour was intended, when the portion was increased (Gen. 43:34). The Israelites were forbidden to attend heathenish sacrificial entertainments (Ex. 34:15), because these were in honour of false gods, and because at such feast they would be liable to partake of unclean flesh (1 Cor. 10:28). In the entertainments common in apostolic times among the Gentiles were frequent "revellings," against which Christians were warned (Rom. 13:13; Gal. 5:21; 1 Pet. 4:3). (See BANQUET.)

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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