Monday, August 6, 2012

What the deuce....

Dear Spies and Snoops,

Seeing it's Olympic time, I hope you don't mind if I continue on the tennis theme. (Hey, congratulations on your gold medal, Andy Murray!)

Last time we talked about the way in tennis you say "Love" instead of "Nil" or "Zero". Now let's look at that pesky score of "Deuce."

If you don't know tennis, "deuce" is the word for when each player has reached 40 points, so the score is 40-40. Normally, if a player reaches 40 points, they only have to win one more point to win the game. But if the score is 40-40,  for a player to win the game, they have to win the next TWO points instead of just ONE point.

In French, the word for "two" is "deux" (pronounced "der" more or less.)  And the word"deuce", (pronounce dyoose" more or less) comes from this word for two - because you have to play two points to win the game.

If you only win one point, and then the other player wins the next point, it goes back to DEUCE. And again. And again.  And again. Sometimes this can go on for A LONG LONG LONG time ...

yours, exhausted just thinking about it,

The Word Spy (aka The Word Snoop)


Next time, even though it's got nothing to do with words, I'll tell you why tennis scores are so peculiar. I'll give you a hint - tick tock tick tock tick tock

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