Here you go. Take it!
When the French used to play jeu de paume (literally, “game of the palm”), the ancestor of tennis and a favorite among medieval French knights, they used to shout tenez! which means “take it” or “here you go” when serving the ball at their opponent. Poorly pronounced by the English, it became “tennis.” That word was brought back to France and thus adpoted as the name of the sport.
The name of the game isn’t the only thing that has French roots:
- Deuce comes from à deux le jeu, meaning “to both is the game” (that is, the two players have equal scores and both are equally poised to win the game).
- The origin of the use of Love for zero is disputed. It is possible that it derives phonetically from l’oeuf (pronounced LUF), the French word for “egg”, resembling the shape of a zero.