tennis

[ten-is]
noun
a game played on a rectangular court by two players or two pairs of players equipped with rackets, in which a ball is driven back and forth over a low net that divides the court in half.
Compare lawn tennis.


Origin:
1350–1400; Middle English tenetz, ten(e)ys < Anglo-French: take!, imperative plural of tenir to hold, take, receive, apparently used as a server's call

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World English Dictionary
tennis (ˈtɛnɪs)
 
n
a.  lawn tennis real tennis court tennis See also table tennis a racket game played between two players or pairs of players who hit a ball to and fro over a net on a rectangular court of grass, asphalt, clay, etc
 b.  (as modifier): tennis court; tennis racket
 
[C14: probably from Anglo-French tenetz hold (imperative), from Old French tenir to hold, from Latin tenēre]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

tennis
1345, most likely from Anglo-Fr. tenetz "hold! receive! take!," from O.Fr. tenez, imperative of tenir "to hold, receive, take," which was used as a call from the server to his opponent. The original version of the game (a favorite sport of medieval Fr. knights) was played by striking the ball with the
palm of the hand, and in O.Fr. was called la paulme, lit. "the palm," but to an onlooker the service cry would naturally seem to identify the game. The use of the word for the modern game is from 1874, short for lawn tennis, which originally was called sphairistike (1873), from Gk. sphairistike (tekhne) "(skill) in playing at ball," from the root of sphere. It was invented, and named, by Maj. Walter C. Wingfield and first played at a garden party in Wales, inspired by the popularity of badminton.
"The name 'sphairistike,' however, was impossible (if only because people would pronounce it as a word of three syllables to rhyme with 'pike') and it was soon rechristened." ["Times" of London, June 10, 1927]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
None of us were particularly good at tennis-or at golf, either, for that matter.
Harry had a bookish appearance but excelled at tennis, football, gymnastics and
  other sports.
The same holds for picking which tennis player is likely to win a match.
No matter how you turn a tennis ball, it does not alter the ball's appearance.
Image for tennis
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