Bates and Ferri (2010) define entertainment as any activity understood objectively, that communicates between text and audience from an external stimulus, offers pleasure, requires an audience to exist and occurs in a passive form. This definition suggests that entertainment is something to be consumed, and in the course of its evolution it has proved remarkably adaptable to a range of social contexts, from individual consumption of a DVD to a banquet adapted for two, through to performances designed for thousands, even global audiences.
From Middle English entretenement, from Medieval Latin intertenere “to hold inside” (prefix from inter, from the Latin root tenere “stretch”) + tenir (“to hold”; from the Latin root teno, from the Indo-European verb tenere). See entertain.
-ment is a common suffix forming nouns from verb stems, originally representing Latin -mentum. It is used with all English verb stems ending in -er or -ir (for example amazement, betterment, merriment).