\ ˈdüs How to pronounce deuce (audio) also ˈdyüs \

Definition of deuce

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a(1) : the face of a die that bears two spots
(2) : a playing card bearing an index number two
b : a throw of the dice yielding two points
2 : a tie in tennis after each side has scored 40 requiring two consecutive points by one side to win
3 [obsolete English deuce bad luck]
a : devil, dickens used chiefly as a mild oath what the deuce is he up to now
b : something notable of its kind a deuce of a mess


deuced; deucing

Definition of deuce (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to bring the score of (a tennis game or set) to deuce

Examples of deuce in a Sentence

Noun She beat her opponent after eight deuces.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun After holding for 5-3 with a backhand winner down the line, Osaka closed the set with one more break, prevailing in a five-deuce miniseries with the help of two world-class forehands, one a return and one off the ground. Wayne Coffey, USA TODAY, "Analysis: In a hard-fought match featuring two gutsy champions, Naomi Osaka showed more heart," 13 Sep. 2020 Azarenka hit an 83 mph second serve into Williams’ body, forced an error for deuce, and had the biggest hold of the match with a backhand winner. Wayne Coffey, USA TODAY, "Analysis: Why Serena Williams just missed her last, best chance to win No. 24," 12 Sep. 2020 Clearly, dropping a deuce in space is no small feat. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, "It's Hard to Poop on the Moon. NASA Wants You to Make It Easier.," 25 June 2020 Muguruza subsequently dropped serve from 40-15 -- missing a backhand near the net at deuce after Kenin's return skimmed the tape and then double faulting on break point -- and Kenin didn't look back. Ravi Ubha, CNN, "Sofia Kenin wins first grand slam title after beating Garbine Muguruza in the Australian Open final," 1 Feb. 2020 Declarer won — Grapefruit followed with the deuce — and led the queen of trumps, losing the finesse. Frank Stewart, The Mercury News, "Bridge: Aug. 25, 2019," 25 Aug. 2019 Neal Skupski — the brother of former Breakers player Ken Skupski — then served out the match for the Empire in a deuce game. Matt Szabo, Daily Pilot, "Orange County Breakers can’t close out match against New York Empire," 24 July 2019 But instead of forcing a tough deuce over the contest of Theis and a rotating Gordon Hayward, Sexton snapped an on-the-money seamer to Cedi Osman on the left wing. Chris Fedor, cleveland, "Cavaliers strive to emulate Celtics’ style as Brad Stevens gushes about John Beilein, Cleveland’s growth," 6 Nov. 2019 Run line: The deuce with a hook is out for this one: Miami +2.5 runs, -167. Skip Snow, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "Milwaukee Brewers at Miami Marlins odds, picks and betting tips," 10 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The system uses no-advantage scoring, meaning the player or team that wins deuce will win the game — that is, instead of needing to win a game by two points, one point will suffice. Beth Bragg, Anchorage Daily News, "The on-again, off-again CIC tennis championships are on again," 8 Oct. 2020 Azarenka, a two-time major champion who was in her first final in seven years, had three chances to break back at 0-40 in the next game, but Osaka fought back to deuce and had her biggest hold of the match when Azarenka hit a forehand long. Wayne Coffey, USA TODAY, "Naomi Osaka rallies for three-set win over Victoria Azarenka and her second US Open title," 12 Sep. 2020 After the game went to deuce five times, Andreescu hit a backhand into the net to give Williams the advantage and Williams won the game with a forehand, cutting Andreescu’s lead to 4-3. Los Angeles Times, "Column: U.S. Open: Bianca Andreescu knocks off Serena Williams in straight sets," 7 Sep. 2019 Although the first three games went at least to deuce, Osuigwe quickly asserted command in going up a break. Craig Davis,, "Bradenton's Whitney Osuigwe dominates Orange Bowl tennis final, looks to pros," 11 Dec. 2017 Television broadcasts showed that Kerber’s shot had, in fact, landed out, which would have brought the score to deuce. Ben Rothenberg, New York Times, "Serena Williams Loses Bid for 23rd Major and Her No. 1 Ranking SEPT. 8, 2016," 8 Sep. 2016

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'deuce.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of deuce


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)


1919, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for deuce


Middle English dewes, from Anglo-French deus two, from Latin duos, accusative masculine of duo two — more at two

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Time Traveler for deuce

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The first known use of deuce was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

9 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Deuce.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of deuce

chiefly US, informal : a playing card that has the number two on it or two symbols on it
tennis : a situation in which each side has a score of 40
old-fashioned + informal used to make a question or statement more forceful

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