[ ten-is ]
/ ˈtɛn ɪs /


a game played on a rectangular court by two players or two pairs of players equipped with rackets, in which a ball is driven back and forth over a low net that divides the court in half.

Nearby words

  1. tennessee valley authority,
  2. tennessee walking horse,
  3. tennessee warbler,
  4. tenniel,
  5. tenniel, sir john,
  6. tennis ball,
  7. tennis bracelet,
  8. tennis elbow,
  9. tennis shoe,
  10. tennis thumb

Compare lawn tennis.

Origin of tennis

1350–1400; Middle English tenetz, ten(e)ys < Anglo-French: take!, imperative plural of tenir to hold, take, receive, apparently used as a server's call Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tennis

British Dictionary definitions for tennis


/ (ˈtɛnɪs) /


  1. a racket game played between two players or pairs of players who hit a ball to and fro over a net on a rectangular court of grass, asphalt, clay, etcSee also lawn tennis, real tennis, court tennis, table tennis
  2. (as modifier)tennis court; tennis racket

Word Origin for tennis

C14: probably from Anglo-French tenetz hold (imperative), from Old French tenir to hold, from Latin tenēre

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

Word Origin and History for tennis


Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper