entertain (v.) (<--) late 15c., "to keep up, maintain, to keep (someone) in a certain frame of mind," from Middle French entretenir, from Old French entretenir "hold together, stick together, support" (12c.), from entre- "among" (from Latin inter; see inter-) + tenir "to hold" (from Latin tenere; see tenet).

Sense of "have a guest" is late 15c.; that of "gratify, amuse" is 1620s. Meaning "to allow (something) to consideration, take into the mind" (of opinions, notions, etc.) is 1610s. [...]

Per the link above, the prefix inter- never explicitly meant 'together'.
So did among evolve to mean together?

The OED's entry for 'entertain, v.' never uses the 'adverb' together in its etymology.
But then how did *entre- + tenir evolve into all these definitions?

Please expose and explain all (hidden and missing) semantic drifts and links. What is a right way of interpreting the etymology, to understand how the semantic jumps abstracted and severed from the original literal meaning?

Beware that the modern French 'entretenir' means far less (ie: is a hyponym) than its English cognate 'entertain'. Why? Did 'entretenir' simply cease its semantic drifter earlier?

  • There is a natural semantic link between the concepts of between and together. two things hafta be together before there is any betweening possible. Note how phonosemantic KL-words refer both to things that are together in clumps, and also to the act of separating them: cleave, clip, clash, etc. – John Lawler Jun 20 '15 at 14:32

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