> ψυχαγωγία

psychē (soul) + agōgē (conduct, leading) 

Etymologically speaking, ‘ψυχαγωγία’ stresses something that provides entertainment and simultaneously broadens one's mind and cultivates one’s soul. It instructs, amuses, nurtures skills and knowledge -all at once.

‘Διασκέδαση’ has a root that implies dispersion, a scattering of attention so as to relax the mind, while ‘ψυχαγωγία’ has a root that implies more engaged action on the part of the mind. "Amusement" and "fun" and "entertainment" all feel more like ‘διασκέδαση’. 

For the greater activity or engagement of the soul, it's harder to find contemporary English equivalents. Trying to grasp that difference, I'd suggest parts of the lyrics of “Music” by Joss Stone and Queen’s “Let me entertain you”.


I'm so in love with my music

The way you keep me


Ain't nobody doing what you're doing

You are my sunlight

You are the one mic

That sound so sweet because the beat just inspires me

No limit to your mind

Your endless love is open

To every race and kind

Could it be your blood runs golden

Baby if this world were mine

We would be singing in the Key of Life

When you're gone I can't survive

Cause I just can't be without my


“let me entertain you” 

Are you ready for some entertainment?

Are you ready for a show?

Gonna rock you gonna roll you

Get you dancing in the aisles

Jazz you razzmatazz you

With a little bit of style

C'mon let me entertain you 

I've come here to sell you my body

I can show you some good merchandise

I'll pull you and I'll pill you

I'll Cruela-de-ville you

And to thrill you I'll use any device

Author and translator: Stella Dimitrakopoulou