Entertaiment is one of the largest and most important forms of cultural expression. It may take the form of an individual choosing a private entertainment from a vast array of pre-recorded products; of a banquet adapted for two; of performances intended for thousands; or, as in the case of ceremonial ritual, religious festival, or satire, may have serious purpose behind the apparent amusement and aesthetic effect. Often, familiar entertainments cross media, evolving into new shapes and structures over time, as shown by the examples in this collection. Click on a collocation to see more examples. The word entertainment is derived from the medieval Latin intertenere, with the prefix inter meaning “inside,” and the suffix tenere based on the Indo-European root ten, meaning “to hold.” (See also Entertaining).

Article originally published in September 2014. Entertaiment has been updated and republished.