noun, often attributive
ten·​nis | \ ˈte-nəs How to pronounce tennis (audio) \

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 Lisbon, the area’s oldest town, is home to Lisbon Park, a nine-acre gem with tennis courts, a playground and gazebo. Mike Klingaman,, "Community guide 2021: Western Howard County," 21 Feb. 2021 His recommendation for an early end to their lockdown and access to tennis courts at private homes, among other impossible-to-meet demands, garnered widespread ridicule. New York Times, "For Djokovic in Australia, a Complicated Road Has a Familiar Destination," 19 Feb. 2021 Not much remains of the North Gleason area that once held a nine-hole golf course, clay tennis courts and picnic pavilions. Carole Carlson,, "Gary’s segregated past yields preservation grants for Black heritage sites," 19 Feb. 2021 Neighbors get together at the tennis courts, basketball courts and amphitheater, while kids enjoy the playground. Mustang Lakes, Dallas News, "Award-winning community doubles sales in 2020," 17 Jan. 2021 Gordon Ernst, Georgetown University's tennis coach, was accused of getting $2.7 million in bribes to designate at least 12 applicants as recruits. Julia Musto, Fox News, "California financier agrees to plead guilty in college admissions scandal," 7 Feb. 2021 Trabert, an all-around athlete who starred in basketball at the University of Cincinnati, spent more than 30 years as a distinguished tennis commentator for CBS. ... Bruce Jenkins, San Francisco Chronicle, "Giants, A's aren't getting the answers they need from Major League Baseball," 5 Feb. 2021 Former Australian Open champions Naomi Osaka and Victoria Azarenka also withdrew from their tuneup tournaments two days before the year’s first tennis major begins., "US men will open Olympic soccer qualifying against Costa Rica," 5 Feb. 2021 The British information firm Merchant Machine called for putting Vice President Kamala Harris on the $100 bill, media big Oprah Winfrey on the $50 bill, and tennis champ Serena Williams on the $10 bill. Paul Bedard, Washington Examiner, "Push for Oprah on $50 bill, Kamala Harris on $100, Taylor Swift on $20," 5 Feb. 2021

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, perhaps borrowed from Anglo-French tenez, 2nd person plural imperative of tenir "to hold" — more at tenant entry 1

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Time Traveler for tennis

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for tennis

Last Updated

24 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tennis.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for tennis



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 How to pronounce tennis (audio) \

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

Nglish: Translation of tennis for Spanish Speakers

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

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