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

Fans were up in arms regarding the questionable decision, but the tennis superstar’s own response to the debacle was simple and dignified. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Serena Williams Defied Catsuit Critics by Wearing a Cape and Co-ord at the French Open," 28 May 2019 Serena Williams, tennis icon and fashion obsessive, hit the red carpet at the 2019 Met Gala in her most show-stopping look to date. Julie Kosin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Serena Williams Wore Sneakers to the Met Gala and Looked Incredibly Chic," 6 May 2019 The hotel seems to have something for everyone--a swanky sushi restaurant, Dusk, a kid's club, a world class spa, and tennis. Hannah Seligson, Town & Country, "The Best Room At...The Ritz Carlton, Naples," 3 May 2019 In checkers, gin rummy, Parcheesi, dominoes and, sometimes, tennis. Laura Lippman, Glamour, "The Pleasure of Being Mediocre," 2 May 2019 The tennis pro, entrepreneur, and friend to Meghan Markle is no stranger to starting her own company—or, for that matter, fully embracing disruptions to a traditional industry. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Serena Williams Has Secretly Been Investing in Diverse Companies for the Past 5 Years," 17 Apr. 2019 The Harvard graduate oversaw college entrance exam preparation at IMG Academy, a Bradenton school founded by renowned tennis coach Nick Bollettieri that bills itself as the world’s largest sports academy. Alanna Durkin Richer, The Seattle Times, "Test taker pleads guilty in college admissions bribery scam," 13 Apr. 2019 Take your pick of a crochet bicycle, tennis racquets, or just in time for Easter, a family of pet bunnies. Ingrid Abramovitch, ELLE Decor, "Hooked on Missoni Home's Fairytale Rooms Made Entirely Out of Crochet," 10 Apr. 2019 Two-time tennis Grand-Slam winner Naomi Osaka has signed a deal with Nike. Scarlett Newman, Teen Vogue, "Tennis Star Naomi Osaka Signs with Nike," 5 Apr. 2019

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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Statistics for tennis

Last Updated

4 Jun 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 move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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