ten·​nis ˈte-nəs How to pronounce tennis (audio)
often attributive
: 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 Venus and Serena Williams have forever changed the sport of tennis. Lynnette Nicholas, Parents, 16 Feb. 2024 Jurors on Thursday also heard from a teenager who was playing tennis in Westlake Village on the night of the collision. Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times, 16 Feb. 2024 Zenith is one of the latter—and by extension Mouratoglou’s dynamic new tour, UTS (Ultimate Tennis Showdown), which is positioned to change the way professional tennis is played. Elizabeth Doerr, Robb Report, 15 Feb. 2024 Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi were the two dominant tennis players during this period. Adam Fayed, Forbes, 15 Feb. 2024 Williams stepped away from tennis in September 2022. Escher Walcott, Peoplemag, 13 Feb. 2024 This week, Madina and 14 other women traveled overseas to Malta with tennis pro Joey Graziadei. Chyna Blackmon, Charlotte Observer, 13 Feb. 2024 To be clear: The championship locations for basketball, soccer, baseball, tennis, rowing, golf, gymnastics and several other sports did not come as a surprise to the Bay Area schools. Jon Wilner, The Mercury News, 10 Feb. 2024 Though the billionaire power broker had made a career forcing management changes in businesses including Wendy’s and JCPenney, Ackman seemed an unlikely backer for his tennis buddy’s project. Elizabeth Dwoskin, Washington Post, 10 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'tennis.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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

Dictionary Entries Near tennis

Cite this Entry

“Tennis.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


ten·​nis ˈten-əs How to pronounce tennis (audio)
: a game played with rackets and a light elastic ball by two players or two pairs of players on a level court divided by a low net

More from Merriam-Webster on tennis

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