There are 2 main definitions of deuce in English:

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deuce1

Syllabification: deuce
Pronunciation: /d(y)o͞os
 
/

noun

1North American A thing representing, or represented by, the number two, in particular.
1.1The two on dice or playing cards.
Example sentences
  • The deuce of each suit is called the sow (die Sau).
  • The dealer gave her a deuce and she jumped from fifth place to second place and earned $22,000 in doing so.
  • Let's say everybody is dealt a bunch of small cards and the dealer has a deuce up.
1.2A throw of two at dice.
Example sentences
  • My double-down blackjack bets drew deuces, the ball avoided my numbers in roulette like it owed them money, and if a player needed a card to beat me, then by God, that card was gonna come.
  • If he should now throw 2 deuces for a total of 5, the player then throws all five dice for the third throw.
1.3 informal dated A two-dollar bill.
Example sentences
  • Sure enough, I handed over a twenty and said "two please", back came three fresh Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond deuces.
  • The Legal Tender deuces have always held a special attraction to collectors.
2 Tennis The tie score of 40-all in a game, at which a player needs two consecutive points to win the game.
Example sentences
  • Federer was in the sort of form which took him to the Wimbledon title this year, with Blake staving off an amazing 19 out of 20 break-point opportunities, and surviving 10 deuces in one service game.
  • They had a match point in the semi-final against the Cantrells, but Burdett served a double fault on the sudden-death second deuce in which this point is decisive under the rules of the competition designed to prevent drawn-out matches.
  • I believe that happens during a deuce when the server has just won a point, and if he or she wins the next point the game is theirs.

Origin

late 15th century: from Old French deus 'two', from Latin duos.

More
  • The two different meanings of deuce both come from Latin duus ‘two’, by different routes. The earliest meaning, from the late 15th century, was ‘a throw of two at dice’. The immediate source was the French word for ‘two’ (modern deux). In the mid 17th century this was reinforced by German duus, meaning ‘bad luck or mischief’ and by association ‘the devil’. The connection arose because two is the worst or unluckiest throw you can have when playing with two dice. Expressions where deuce is interchangeable with devil (as in ‘where the deuce …’ or ‘a deuce of a…’) are now rather old-fashioned. In the late 16th century, deuce was a stage in the original form of tennis, now known as real tennis, which is played with a solid ball on an enclosed court. In real tennis deuce is five or more games all.

Definition of deuce in:

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There are 2 main definitions of deuce in English:

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deuce2

Syllabification: deuce
Pronunciation: /d(y)o͞os
 
/

noun

(the deuce) informal
Used as a euphemism for “devil” in expressions of annoyance, impatience, or surprise or for emphasis: how the deuce are we to make a profit? what the deuce are you trying to do?
More example sentences
  • In 49th Parallel, who knows what the deuce he is doing, other than turning in what I believe to be the only bad performance in any Powell and Pressburger film.
  • Well, what the deuce are you waiting for, old boy?
  • I'm back and now you can ask me: What the deuce is Deuce Bigelow: Male Gigolo, anyway?

Origin

mid 17th century: from Low German duus, probably of the same origin as deuce1 (two aces at dice being the worst throw).

More
  • The two different meanings of deuce both come from Latin duus ‘two’, by different routes. The earliest meaning, from the late 15th century, was ‘a throw of two at dice’. The immediate source was the French word for ‘two’ (modern deux). In the mid 17th century this was reinforced by German duus, meaning ‘bad luck or mischief’ and by association ‘the devil’. The connection arose because two is the worst or unluckiest throw you can have when playing with two dice. Expressions where deuce is interchangeable with devil (as in ‘where the deuce …’ or ‘a deuce of a…’) are now rather old-fashioned. In the late 16th century, deuce was a stage in the original form of tennis, now known as real tennis, which is played with a solid ball on an enclosed court. In real tennis deuce is five or more games all.

Phrases

a (or the) deuce of a ——

1
Used to emphasize how bad, difficult, or serious something is.
Example sentences
  • If Hitler's army had been composed of Movie Nazis, it would have been, to quote any of the cocky, effete soldiers David Niven played in the 60s, a damned deuce of a thing, eh?
  • Ken Allen & Les Hair are in the artillery & they have a pretty rough spin occasionally & get in a deuce of a state especially when they are up with the guns.
  • I forgot to tell you I think that for about 4 days from the 19th onward we had a deuce of a heat wave.

Definition of deuce in:

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