Entertaiment provides a respite from the pressures of everyday life and allows us to experience a wide range of emotions in a safe, controlled environment, such as joy or suspense. It can also serve to educate, offering a cathartic release of thoughts and ideas or requiring cerebral engagement in the form of solving puzzles or playing strategy games. The word itself is a combination of the Latin prefix inter- and the suffix -tenere, which suggests that entertainment must be continually transformed to stay fresh and relevant.
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This article was originally published in the March 2013 issue of the Cambridge English Dictionary.