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Key Difference – Leisure vs Entertainment

Both Leisure and Entertainment are terms used to describe one’s free time or the manner how one spends one’s free time. Though they appear similar in their meaning, a fine line can be drawn between them when describing the contexts of their usage. The key difference which can be discerned between leisure and entertainment is that entertainment can be defined primarily as the phenomenon of one being entertained by something whereas leisure can be the free time one uses to get entertained. Under the parts of speech in English grammar, entertainment can be categorized only under nouns whereas leisure belongs to both the groups of nouns and the adjectives.


1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What does Entertainment mean
3. What does Leisure mean
4. Similarities Between Leisure and Entertainment
5. Side by Side Comparison – Leisure vs Entertainment in Tabular Form
6. Summary

What does Entertainment mean?

Entertainment is the noun form of the verb to entertain. Entertainment can be defined as the time or the form of entertaining or making someone feel cheerful by some enjoyable activity. As described by Merriam Webster dictionary, entertainment is the ‘act of entertaining’ or ‘amusement or diversion provided especially by performers, a hired band to provide entertainment.’

 Difference Between Leisure and Entertainment

Fig 01: Forms of Entertainment

Similarly, Oxford dictionary defines entertainment as ‘the action of providing or being provided by amusement or enjoyment.’ Thus, entertainment is often some joyful or amusing thing provided to someone by either a third party or sometimes accomplished by the same person and it helps to make the person who gets entertained relived from stress or distracted from stressful things in life. There are various forms of entertainment such as banquets, music, performances, games, reading, theatre, dancing, etc., which has existed throughout the history of mankind.

What does Leisure mean?

Leisure is basically is the free time or the time when someone can stay relaxed and engage in activities which provide happiness or entertainment to someone. As described in Merriam Webster dictionary, leisure is ‘the freedom provided by the cessation of activities, especially time free from work or duties.’ Moreover, the definition provided by the Oxford dictionary explains leisure as ‘use of one’s free time to enjoyment’ or ‘opportunity offered by free time to do something.’

Key Difference - Leisure vs Entertainment

Fig 02: Spending one’s Leisure time admiring nature

Thus, leisure is not basically about being enjoyed like in entertainment. It is the free time one can use to engage in the activities they prefer either for entertainment purposes or for other purposes. This is where even sleeping comes under a leisure activity. However, leisure time is used by most people for their entertainment.

Leisure can be used both as a noun and as well as an adjective, unlike entertainment which can inky be used as a noun. Consider the given examples;

  1. I will try to finish this task at my leisure time (leisure is used as an adjective)
  2. He used his leisure productively, engaging in disseminating his knowledge through writing. (leisure is used as a noun)

What are the Similarities Between Leisure and Entertainment?

  • Both leisure and entertainment can be used to describe the state of being happy and relaxed
  • Both belong to the category of nouns in English grammar
  • Both can be used to provide amusement or enjoyment to someone

What is the Difference Between Leisure and Entertainment?

Leisure vs Entertainment

Leisure is the time when one is not working or occupied; free time. Entertainment is the action of providing or being provided with amusement or enjoyment.
Leisure is the time one can use to get entertained. Entertainment is usually the state of being amused or happy as a result of the happiness or the amusement provided by something to someone.
Leisure belong to both the noun and the adjectives in English grammar. Entertainment belongs only to the noun group.

Summary – Leisure vs Entertainment

Both leisure and entertainment can be used to make someone feel amused and cheerful. Leisure can be used for other types of activities as well, which might provide entertainment or not provide entertainment to someone whereas, entertainment primarily is based on providing entertainment to someone. This can be identified as the difference between leisure and entertainment.

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Image Courtesy:

1.’Leviathan Reactions’By Jason Campbell (Brother Jay) – Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Commons Wikimedia 
2.’Prime Leisure Time’By Badics – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia