What Is Entertaiment?

A clown at a birthday party, a stadium rock concert, or even the daily crossword puzzle are examples of entertainment. The word comes from the Latin inter tenere, meaning “to hold inside,” and it has been associated with hospitality and entertaining guests.

Theorists such as Oliver and Barstsch have identified six elements of entertainment: it is objectively understood, involves communication, uses external stimuli, provides pleasure, requires audience participation and occurs in a passive form. The broader meaning is that it diverts the mind from other concerns, and in that sense may be useful as a diversion or an escape. What is entertaining to one person or group may be boring or even disturbing to another. What is considered entertainment today will likely continue to change over time.

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