What Is Entertaiment?


A clown at a birthday party, a Broadway show, your friends fighting over the last potato chip—entertaiment is anything that amuses or distracts. It comes from the old French entretenement, which was related to hospitality and referring to the care of guests: entertaining them, or keeping them agreeable. It’s now more likely to mean any activity that affords pleasure, diversion or amusement.

One of the classic examples is the story of Scheherazade, from professional Persian storytelling tradition. This has been retold as music (by composers Rimsky-Korsakov, Ravel and Szymanowski), a film and even an innovative video game. The power of the story is in its ability to entertain and distract.