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ˈdüs How to pronounce deuce (audio)
 also  ˈdyüs
plural deuces
: the face of a die that bears two spots
: a playing card bearing an index number two
: a throw of the dice yielding two points
: a tie in tennis after each side has scored 40 requiring two consecutive points by one side to win
: devil, dickens
used chiefly as a mild oath
what the deuce is he up to now
: something notable of its kind
a deuce of a mess
informal : the fecal matter expelled during one bowel movement
usually used in the phrase drop a deuce
If you live in new dorms and you need to drop a deuce in private, just walk down to the first floor and use the bathroom that is traditionally reserved for parents and visitors.Veronica Sirotic


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deuced; deucing

transitive verb

: to bring the score of (a tennis game or set) to deuce

Example Sentences

Noun She beat her opponent after eight deuces.
Recent Examples on the Web
Égalité, the French word for deuce, began to sound more like a mantra than the score as the chair umpire kept repeating it, game after close game. New York Times, 3 June 2022 Lakhin had a deuce in the first, then 14 in the second. Scott Springer, The Enquirer, 10 Jan. 2023 Hovde finally broke through on the sixth deuce, executing a beautiful backhanded lob that arched over an approaching Udvardy and landed right on the back line to gain advantage. Peter Warren, Dallas News, 9 July 2022 Gauff, who is seeking her third career professional singles title, finished with a 4-1 edge in service aces but also double faulted six times and had to grind out several tough games that went to multiple deuce points. Ivan Carter, San Diego Union-Tribune, 13 Oct. 2022 But the deuce was unpopular and never gained a foothold with the public. Nathaniel Meyersohn, CNN, 17 Sep. 2022 Unlike tennis, there is no deuce or advantage, and the ball speeds can reach up to 150 mph. Fox News, 9 Aug. 2022 Perez-Somarriba took a 40-15 lead in the 10th game, but Forbes fought off two match points to force a sixth deuce game in the final set. Alex Schwartz,, 26 May 2021 Nakashima serving at deuce at 1-1 made for a convenient time for Kyrgios to start jawing with the chair umpire. Matthew Futterman, New York Times, 4 July 2022
Hovde was serving down 1-0 and went up 40-love before Udvardy responded to force deuce. Peter Warren, Dallas News, 9 July 2022 The right guard and right tackle will deuce double team block their defensive tackle to the #2 linebacker Pete Werner. Lance Reisland, cleveland, 23 Dec. 2022 In the second game, both struggled to secure a win, constantly going from an advantage back to deuce. Kris Rhim, New York Times, 2 Sep. 2022 Alcaraz won a game that went to deuce five times, sending them to the tiebreak. Helene Elliott, Los Angeles Times, 11 Sep. 2022 The first set of Wednesday’s three-hour, 27-minute match at Arthur Ashe Stadium featured an epic, 20-point game that went to deuce seven times. Los Angeles Times, 8 Sep. 2021 With the score 5-5 and Keys serving, Stephens jumped to 0-40 lead, only to see Keys dismiss three break points and get back to deuce. Alex Coffey, USA TODAY, 31 Aug. 2021 Despite a weak second serve, Berrettini held serve in a game that went to deuce six times, cutting Djokovic’s lead to 4-2. Los Angeles Times, 8 Sep. 2021 The system uses no-advantage scoring, meaning the player or team that wins deuce will win the game — that is, instead of needing to win a game by two points, one point will suffice. Beth Bragg, Anchorage Daily News, 8 Oct. 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'deuce.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History



Middle English dwsse, dews, dewes, borrowed from Anglo-French deus "two" (continental Old French dous, masculine accusative), going back to Latin duōs, accusative of duo; (sense 3) perhaps of independent origin; (sense 4) probably alluding to number two — more at two entry 1

Note: In expressions such as "a deuce on him," "a deuce take me," current from the 1650's, deuce is clearly a euphemism for "devil." The reason for the choice of deuce rather than another word has inspired several explanations, none entirely satisfactory. The editors of the Oxford English Dictionary, first edition, apparently following an article by A.L. Mayhew (The Academy, vol. 41, no. 1030, January 30, 1892, pp. 11-12) propose that deuce was borrowed from Low German duus in the same sense: "compare German daus, Low German duus, used in precisely the same way, in the exclamatory der daus! was der daus …! Low German de duus! wat de duus!" A Low German source is not specified by the editors, but Daus is entered in Grimm's Deutsches Wörterbuch with the meaning "deuce" in cards and dice, and as a euphemism for "devil" (Teufel, Low German Düvel). The parallel with English deuce is noted, but there is no suggestion that the English word was borrowed from German. This is indeed a weakness of Mayhew's hypothesis: the parallelism connecting the two languages does not necessarily imply borrowing of the word itself, and borrowing would not in any case explain why in particular duus/daus developed a secondary meaning.


derivative of deuce entry 1

First Known Use


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)


1919, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near deuce

Cite this Entry

“Deuce.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


: the face of a die that bears two spots
: a playing card bearing the number two
: a throw of dice resulting in two points
: a tie in tennis after each side has scored 40
: devil entry 1 sense 1, dickens
used chiefly as a mild oath

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