What Is Entertaiment?

A clown at a birthday party, the Broadway show or stadium rock concert, your friends fighting over that last potato chip—all these are entertainments. Entertaining is often a form of distraction or amusement, but many entertainments serve more serious purposes: ritual and ceremony, religious festival, or satire for example. The word “entertain” has roots in the Latin inter- and tenere, meaning to hold inside or to support; from here, it came to mean hospitality, which involves hospitable provision for the needs and wants of guests.

Bates and Ferri (2010) define entertainment as an activity understood objectively, which encompasses communication between text and audience from external stimuli, offers pleasure, requires an audience to exist, and takes place in a passive form. This article is a compilation of sources and the definitions are adapted from those sources.