Entertainment is one of the defining features of human life, providing pleasures and gratifications on a massive scale. It can be as simple as a private evening with a loved one; as elaborate as an endless banquet or festival; or as grand as the theater, music and dance performances intended for thousands and even global audiences. Entertainment has a strong association with amusement, but it also has serious purposes, such as in ceremonies, celebrations, religious festivals or satire.

The word comes from the Latin intertenere, or “hold inside,” based on the Indo-European root ten, meaning to stretch. In a time of economic turmoil, the entertainment industry has found new ways to meet consumer demand for excitement.