Definition of tennis in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈtɛnɪs/


[mass noun]
A game in which two or four players strike a ball with rackets over a net stretched across a court. The usual form (originally called lawn tennis) is played with a felt-covered hollow rubber ball on a grass, clay, or artificial surface. See also real tennis.
Example sentences
  • It was not creative tennis but it was enthralling nonetheless.
  • She fits in a gentle game of tennis every week.
  • He has some unexpected spare time and challenges me to a game of tennis.


Late Middle English tenetz, tenes 'real tennis', apparently from Old French tenez 'take, receive' (called by the server to an opponent), imperative of tenir.

  • Around 1400 tennis was the name for what is now known as real tennis, played on an enclosed court, but since the 1870s it has referred to the outdoor game also called lawn tennis. The name probably comes from Old French tenez meaning ‘take!’—presumably the server's call to an opponent. Anyone for tennis? is supposedly a typical entrance or exit line spoken by a young man in the kind of drawing-room comedy popular in the 1920s or 1930s, although no actual example has been traced—the closest is ‘Anybody on for a game of tennis?’, from Misalliance (1914) by George Bernard Shaw.

Words that rhyme with tennis

Dennis, Ennis, Glenys, menace, Venice

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: ten¦nis

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