noun, often attributive
ten·​nis | \ ˈte-nəs \

Definition of tennis

1 : an indoor or outdoor game that is played with rackets and a light elastic ball by two players or pairs of players on a level court (as of clay or grass) divided by a low net

Examples of tennis in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Appearing on our December/January cover, the tennis player shared in a conversation with Naomi Wadler. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Shade Inclusivity, Photoshop Bans, and Other Major Beauty Industry Wins in 2018," 27 Dec. 2018 Lindsay played Jaime Sommers, a professional tennis player who suffers a serious skydiving injury and is saved by a surgical procedure involving bionic implants. Emma Dibdin, Country Living, "Who Is Lindsay Wagner? Meet The Star of Hallmark's 'Mingle All The Way'," 1 Dec. 2018 This hasn’t gone unnoticed among lefties following politics, including prominent tennis player Martina Navratilova. Li Zhou, Vox, "The emerging liberal blowback against Chuck Schumer, explained," 29 Nov. 2018 Take, for instance, legendary tennis player Rafael Nadal. Phoebe Robinson, Harper's BAZAAR, "Phoebe Robinson's 9 Tips on How to Be Single That Don't Actually Suck," 17 Oct. 2018 The Duchess first met the top tennis player at DIRECTV's Celebrity Beach Bowl in 2014 and immediately formed a firm friendship. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Meghan Markle Has Sent Her Charity Cookbook Out to Her Closest Friends, Including Serena Williams," 20 Sep. 2018 An article on Friday about the Chinese tennis player Li Na misspelled the surname of one of China’s junior players. New York Times, "Corrections: July 14, 2018," 13 July 2018 Not greatest tennis player, not greatest female athlete. Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, "Of all Serena's triumphs, this Wimbledon run is the most impressive," 12 July 2018 The world’s best tennis players typically own center stage during these two weeks of Wimbledon. Sam Farmer,, "England riding high on World Cup success as Wimbledon also creates a racket," 11 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tennis.' 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 tennis

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for tennis

Middle English tenetz, tenys, probably from Anglo-French tenez, 2nd person plural imperative of tenir to hold — more at tenable

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Statistics for tennis

Last Updated

15 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for tennis

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

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English Language Learners Definition of tennis

: a game that is played by two people or two pairs of people on a special court (called a tennis court) where they hit a small ball back and forth over a net using rackets


ten·​nis | \ ˈte-nəs \

Kids Definition of tennis

: a game played on a level court by two or four players who use rackets to hit a ball back and forth across a low net dividing the court

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More from Merriam-Webster on tennis

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tennis

Spanish Central: Translation of tennis

Nglish: Translation of tennis for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tennis for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about tennis

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