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

Getty ImagesPaul Kane Serena Williams and Roger Federer, also known as the queen and king of tennis, have 43 Grand Slam titles between them. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Serena Williams and Roger Federer Are Even Bigger Fans of Each Other After Their Matchup," 2 Jan. 2019 Williams recently returned to tennis after giving birth to her first child, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., and marrying Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian. Kelcie Willis, ajc, "Serena Williams withdraws from French Open due to injury," 4 June 2018 Meanwhile, Esposito dated Aussie tennis player Mark Philippoussis, and the two became engaged in October 2009, according to People. Nicole Saunders, Harper's BAZAAR, "Who Is Jennifer Esposito? 6 Facts About the Actress Who Happens to Be Bradley Cooper's Ex-Wife," 26 Feb. 2019 At the breakfast table two guests were notably absent, having chosen to spend the morning playing tennis rather than join the group for its traditional sail. Janine Di Giovanni, Town & Country, "Is Brexit Ruining London Dinner Parties?," 25 Feb. 2019 The script ends with a cut to a surprisingly cheery Waluigi leaving a locker room to play tennis. Shoshana Wodinsky, The Verge, "This masterpiece is not the Waluigi movie script we want, but it’s the one we deserve," 17 Aug. 2018 Porto Ercole is brimming with tons of outdoor activities and Burch suggests incorporating something different every day, like hiking, swimming, or playing tennis. Mara Balagtas, Condé Nast Traveler, "Designer Tory Burch's Guide to Summer in Italy," 6 Aug. 2018 Ohanian wrote next to a photo of Williams playing tennis. Korin Miller, SELF, "Serena Williams Dedicates Her Wimbledon Performance to ‘All the Moms Out There’ in an Emotional Interview," 17 July 2018 Two others were friends who played tennis with him. Nicole Chavez, CNN, "Ex-wife of Arizona killer lived in fear for 9 years waiting for 'his revenge'," 13 June 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

9 Apr 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 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

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

Comments on tennis

What made you want to look up tennis? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to affect and impair by alcohol or a drug

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