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

This meticulously resorted Victorian manse set on 34 acres of Scottish woodlands first made headlines in 2014, when it was acquired by none other than tennis star Andy Murray, who hails from this part of Perthshire. Betsy Blumenthal, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Hotels in the World: 2018 Readers' Choice Awards," 9 Oct. 2018 The tennis star and husband Alexis Ohanian attended Markle and Prince Harry's royal wedding in May. Williams accompanied Markle to watch Prince Harry play polo at the Royal Ascot before Wimbledon began. Charlotte Carroll,, "Meghan Markle, Kate Middleton to Watch Serena Williams in Women's Final at Wimbledon," 12 July 2018 Then last year, Mulder posted 73 points and fellow former MLB pitcher Lowe (Dearborn Edsel Ford) and tennis star Mardy Fish by 11 to claim his unprecedented third title and the annual $125,000 purse. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "Mark Mulder (MSU) eyes 4-peat at Tahoe celebrity golf tournament," 10 July 2018 Also watching from those prime seats were Ben Ainsle, the most successful sailor in Olympic history, English rowers Matthew Pinsent and Steve Redgrave, and longtime tennis star Gabriela Sabatini. Sam Farmer,, "With top 10 women seeds eliminated at Wimbledon, Serena Williams is only high-profile player in quarterfinals," 9 July 2018 For the first time since 2010, the Forbes Top 100 Highest Paid Athletes list had no female athletes – primarily because tennis star Serena Williams is on maternity leave. John Smallwood,, "Female athletes keep plugging away in sports that don't offer big money," 5 July 2018 Roger Federer ended the rumors in a way only the low-key tennis star could. Cam Wolf, GQ, "Roger Federer Officially Leaves Nike for Uniqlo," 2 July 2018 Williams has been drug tested this year more than other U.S. tennis stars, according to an initial report by Deadspin. Erin Corbett, Fortune, "Serena Williams Speaks Out About Unfair Drug Testing," 1 July 2018 Davis, who was the consensus National Player of the Year for Kentucky's 2012 national championship team, headlines a 2018 Hall of Fame class that also includes former NFL tight end Jacob Tamme and South Oldham tennis star Eric Quigley. Jon Hale, The Courier-Journal, "Anthony Davis, Jacob Tamme headline 2018 UK Hall of Fame class," 19 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

3 Dec 2018

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


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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