Where Does The Word Tennis Come From?

The game of tennis originated in the monastic cloisters in northern France in the 12th century. It was played by the monks and nuns during their leisure hours.


The word tennis is derived from the French word tenez, which can be translated to “hold, take.” This word likely comes from the phrase “tenez le paquet,” which means “take the pack.” The word tennis likely originated in France, though it is unclear exactly when or how.


It is generally believed that tennis originated in the monasteries of France in the 12th century. One story suggests that monks played a handball-like game against their rivals from other monasteries. Another popular theory is that an Italian monk named Bruno of Carciano invented the game, which he called “ka ballo” or “Quadrangle.” It is also possible that tennis originated in Spain. The first recorded mention of the game in English was in 1497, when it was called “tenez,” derived from the French word for “hold,” or “take.”


The game of tennis originated in England in the late 12th century. It was played by monastic orders in the courtyards of monasteries to help with their hand-eye coordination. The game was known as “tennyson” or “tennison”, with the latter word eventually evolving into our modern word, “tennis”. The game became popular amongst the French nobility in the 16th century and from there it spread to other parts of Europe and beyond.

How the Game Was Played

The game known as tennis today has a long and complicated history. The game was played in ancient Egypt and Greece and was called by many names. In the 1500s, the game was called “real tennis.” It was played inside a building called a tennis court. The court had a high roof and walls on all four sides.

11th and 12th centuries

Tennis is thought to have originated in the monastic cloisters in northern France in the 11th or 12th century. It was played there not as we know it today, but as an outdoor game where the players hit a ball with the palm of their hand. This early form of the game was brought to England by monks and it became known as “realtennis”. Realtennis quickly became popular at all levels of society, from King Henry VIII, who loved the game, to his subjects who played it in town halls and inns.

13th century

In the 13th century, real tennis (an ancestor of the modern game) was played in France. It was a game for nobles and monastic orders, particularly in the great monastic houses such as those at Canterbury, Winchester, and Westminster. Many French words associated with the game were adopted into English, including tenez (from Old French tenez, meaning “take” or “receive [the ball]”), talon (from Old French talon, meaning “heel [of the racquet]”), bout (from Old French bout, meaning “end of the court”), raquette (from Old French raquette, meaning “racket”), volée (from Old French volée, meaning “flight [of the ball]”), and revers (from Old French revers, meaning “backhand”). The word tennis probably came from the Old French tenez, a second person singular imperative verb meaning “to take.” This word was used in a game called jeu de paume ( literally “game of the palm”), in which players tried to keep a ball in play without using their hands. Jeu de paume evolved into real tennis over time.

14th century

Tennis is a sport that was played in the 14th century. The game was played with the hands instead of using racquets. The game became popular in England and France. In 1873, Major Walter Clopton Wingfield introduced a game called lawn tennis. This game used paddles and a net strung along the ground. The first lawn tennis set was sold in 1874. The game became so popular that it was soon played all over the world.

The Modern Game

The game that we now know as tennis originated in England in the late 19th century. It was created as an indoor game because the weather in England is not conducive to playing outdoor sports year-round. The game was originally played with a felt-covered ball and rackets made of laminated wood.

15th century

The game that we now know as tennis originated in the medieval era in the form of a handball game called jeu de paume. The jeu de paume, which translates literally to “game of the palm,” was played by hitting a ball with the palm of the hand. The game was extremely popular in France during the 14th and 15th centuries and was even played by French kings.

In 1316, King Charles V decreed that all workers in his palace had to play jeu de paume every day during their lunch break. The game quickly spread throughout Europe and by the end of the 14th century there were professional jeu de paume players in Italy and Spain. In 1424, King James I of Scotland banned golf and bowling so that his subjects would spend more time playing tennis.

The word “tennis” is thought to come from the French word “tenez,” which means “to hold,” referring to the way that players held their racquets when waiting for their opponents to serve. Another theory is that it comes from the Old English word “tennsete,” which means “jeu de paume set.”

16th century

By the 16th century, the cord-strung racket had evolved into the wooden frame racket. Early rackets were made of wood to extend their durability and were transformed from the pad and grip style of play used in real tennis years earlier. The game began to be referred to as “tennis”, from the French tenez (“to take, receive “) which was called out when one player served to another.

17th century

The game that would eventually be known as tennis was played in France in the early 11th century. It was called jeu de paume, literally “game of the palm.” Players used their bare hands to hit a leather ball stuffed with feathers over a high net stretched across the center of the court.Within a few centuries, the game had spread throughout Europe. By the 16th century, it had evolved into a game played with rackets. The word “tennis” comes from the Old French word tenez, which means “hold!,” indicating that someone had just scored a point.

The Word Tennis

Tennis is a sport that is played by either two individuals (“singles”) or four people (“doubles”). It is an international sport with many different tournaments held all over the world. The game of tennis has been around for centuries and the word “tennis” has an interesting history.

18th century

The game of tennis originated in the monastic cloisters in northern France in the 12th century. It was known as je de paume (literally, “game of the palm”), and minutes of an early French royal court in 1275 show that jeu de paume was played by King Louis IX (later Saint Louis) and his brothers. The name “tennis” is derived from the Old French word tenez, meaning “to take, hold, or receive.” This term entered the English vocabulary in the 14th century.

19th century

Tennis is a sport that people can play individually against a single opponent (singles) or between two teams of two players each (doubles). Tennis is an Olympic sport and is played at all levels of society at all ages. The game can be played by anyone who can hold a racket, including wheelchair users.

The word tennis came into use in English in the mid-14th century from Old French, via the Anglo-Norman term Tenez, which can be translated as “Hold!” (i.e., “I hereby challenge you to a match”). A game called jeu de paume (“game of the palm”), was sometimes played in France prior to the 16th century, although bookmaker Richard Mulcaster noted as early as 1540 that it was not as popular as real tennis. In 1418, Louis X of France was injured in an accident during a jeu de paume match; not surprisingly, given his patronymic “le Hutin”, historians have speculated ever since about whether this was an early instance of tennis elbow.

20th century

The game of tennis has been around in one form or another since the medieval period, but it wasn’t until the late 19th century that the sport began to be referred to as “tennis.” The word “tennis” comes from the French word tenez, which means “hold,” “receive” or “take.” This French word was used in reference to a number of games in which two players hit a ball back and forth to each other, such as real tennis, jeu de paume and lawn tennis. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first known use of the word “tennis” in English was in reference to lawn tennis in 1874.

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