How to say "entertainment" in German

The word for “entertainment” in German is “Unterhaltung” (f.), but since this word can also mean “conversation” (and, more rarely, “maintenance”), thus causing potentially confusing situations, the English word is commonly used in Germany as well.

– “Es gab leichte Unterhaltung.” – “There was light entertainment.” OR “There was small talk.”
– “Es gab richtig gutes Entertainment.” – “There was really good entertainment.”

Coupling the word with “-programm” usually takes care of the ambiguity.

The German word for the adjective “entertaining” is “unterhaltsam”:

– “Das Entertainmentprogramm an Bord war sehr unterhaltsam.” – “The entertainment program on board was very entertaining.”

And “to entertain (someone)” is “(jemanden) unterhalten”, but “to converse (with someone)” is “(sich mit jemanden) unterhalten”:

“Ich unterhalte mich mit ihm.” – “I’m conversing with him.”
“Ich unterhalte ihn.” – “I’m entertaining him.”

Lastly (sorry!), the word “Unterhalt” (m.) always means “maintenance”, “upkeep”, “support” or even “alimony”. Its verb is also “unterhalten”:

“Wir unterhalten gute Beziehungen.” – “We’re maintaining good relationships.”

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