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What is Entertaiment?

The clown at a birthday party, a Broadway show, your friends fighting over the last potato chip—these are all forms of entertainment. The word itself derives from the Old French entretenir meaning “to hold together or support.” It is associated with hospitality, the idea of keeping guests happy and amused, and it has come to mean something that provides diversion or amusement. From there it has evolved into a broad category of media, including theater (shows), visual entertainment like art and films, and audio entertainment such as music.

Oliver and Barstsch (2010) define entertainment as an activity understood objectively, that includes communication between text and audience from external stimulus, offers pleasure, requires an audience, and is experienced in a passive form. Entertaiment also entails creative remix of familiar forms across mediums, demonstrating a seemingly unlimited potential for new and everlasting forms of entertainment.