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[doos, dyoos] /dus, dyus/
Cards. a card having two pips; a two, or two-spot.
  1. the face of a die having two pips.
  2. a cast or point of two.
Tennis. a situation, as a score of 40–40 in a game or 5–5 in a match, in which a player must score two successive points to win the game or two successive games to win the set.
  1. a two-dollar bill.
  2. the sum of two dollars.
(especially in games, sports, and gambling) two.
Origin of deuce1
late Middle English
1425-75; late Middle English deus < Anglo-French, Middle French: two < Latin duōs (masculine accusative of duo)


[doos, dyoos] /dus, dyus/
devil; dickens (used as a mild oath):
Where the deuce did they hide it?
First recorded in 1645-55; apparently to be identified with deuce1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for deuce
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I'm in the deuce of a hole, and there's no one I know here besides yourself.

    The Black Bag Louis Joseph Vance
  • I can't keep my mind on m' fishing—just wondering what the deuce he's after.

    Good Indian B. M. Bower
  • deuce awoke, looked about him, and yow-yow-yowed in doggish relief.

    The Forest Stewart Edward White
  • At this point Dick and deuce, who had been paralleling through the woods, joined us.

    The Forest Stewart Edward White
  • It's played the deuce in this family, and will go on doing it.

    The Coryston Family Mrs. Humphry Ward
  • You'd think the deuce was in it!I'd shake the humdrums out of you, I guess!

  • If you stay here, the deuce a man in all Ruritania will doubt of it—or a woman either.

    The Prisoner of Zenda Anthony Hope
  • Gagniere was stupefied; where the deuce could he have lost her?

    His Masterpiece Emile Zola
British Dictionary definitions for deuce


  1. a playing card or dice with two pips or spots; two
  2. a throw of two in dice
(tennis) a tied score (in tennis 40-all) that requires one player to gain two successive points to win the game
Word Origin
C15: from Old French deus two, from Latin duos, accusative masculine of duo two


an expression of annoyance or frustration
(intensifier) the deuce, used in such phrases as what the deuce, where the deuce, etc
Word Origin
C17: probably special use of deuce1 (in the sense: lowest throw at dice)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for deuce

late 15c., "the 2 in dice or cards," also "a roll of 2 in dice" (1510s), from Middle French deus (Modern French deux), from Latin duos (nominative duo) "two" (see two).

Became a mild oath by 1710, about 50 years after it was first attested in the sense of "bad luck, the devil, etc.," perhaps because two was the lowest score, and probably by similarity to Latin deus and related words meaning "god." Low German had der daus! in same sense 16c., which perhaps influenced the English form. Deuce coupe is 1940s hot-rodder slang for "souped up two-door car," especially a 1932 Ford. Related: Deuced; deucedly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for deuce



  1. A two of playing cards (1680+)
  2. Two dollars •Formerly, and still in Canada, a two-dollar bill (1920+)
  3. A two-year prison sentence: did a deuce together at Joliet (1950s+ Prison)
  4. A quitter; coward; petty thief (1940s+ Street gang)
  5. (also deuce coupe) A powerful or handsome specially prepared two-door car, esp a 1932 Ford (1940s+ Hot rodders)
  6. A table for two in a restaurant: deuce in the corner

Related Terms

ace-deuce, forty-deuce

[hot-rod sense probably fr the two or deuce of 1932]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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