v. en·ter·tained, en·ter·tain·ing, en·ter·tains
1. To hold the attention of (someone) with something amusing or diverting. See Synonyms at amuse.
2. To extend hospitality toward: entertain friends at dinner.
a. To consider; contemplate: entertain an idea.
b. To hold in mind; harbor: entertained few illusions.
4. Archaic To continue with; maintain.
5. Obsolete To employ; hire.
6. Obsolete To give admittance to; receive.
1. To show hospitality to guests.
2. To provide entertainment.
[Middle English entertinen, to maintain, from Old French entretenir, from Medieval Latin intertenēre : Latin inter, among; see INTER- + Latin tenēre, to hold; see ten- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.