In everyday English “entertain” is most often associated with providing amusement or with offering hospitality to a guest. But as a verb, “entertain” has the additional meaning of “to bear in mind” or “to take under consideration,” and in legal contexts means “to give judicial consideration to” (Black’s). Thus “the court entertained the motion for continuance” indicates that the judge considered the party’s request for a delay (but may or may not have decided to grant it). Here are a few examples of how “entertain” is used in this context:
- In no event shall any judge entertain such motion if it be made after the making of an opening statement by counsel for plaintiff.
- Court finds that it cannot entertain the case because there was no dispute between the parties on the date when the application was filed.
- The judge will not entertain any written discovery motions until the Court has been provided with an opportunity to informally mediate the parties’ dispute.
- In the absence of leave from an appellate court, a trial judge lacks jurisdiction to entertain a motion while judgment is pending on appeal.