What Is Entertaiment?

A clown at a kid’s birthday party, the Broadway show on a big screen, your friends fighting over the last potato chip–entertaiment is anything that entertains. The word comes from the Latin intertenere, meaning “to hold inside.” We talk about theatrical entertainment as shows, visual entertainment as stuff to look at, and audio entertainment as mostly music.

It can be hard to define exactly what counts as entertainment. What one person finds amusing might be considered work or cruelty by another. But familiar forms of entertainment have proven remarkably adaptable to different media. Click on a collocation to find more examples.