Dictionary.com

There is no moment in sports more romantic than the beginning of a tennis game, when the score is “love-love” and anything is possible.

During the recent Wimbledon tennis tournament, a timeless question came to mind: What is love? Or in this case, what is tennis love?

“Love” is the equivalent of having a score of zero or nil. When both sides have no score, the game is “love-love.”

From there, tennis scoring goes from odd to batty. One point brings a player to “15,” two to “30”; and three to “40.” The next point wins the game, unless a complex series of tie-breakers comes into play.

There’s no consensus, however, about the origin of the tennis term “love.”

The Oxford English Dictionary surmises the term is rooted in the colloquial phrase “for love,” meaning “without stakes being wagered.” This theory walks in lockstep with the sport’s long history of etiquette and sportsmanship. (Let’s not kid ourselves: Major prize money was at stake during Wimbledon. The women’s singles winner Serena Williams, as well men’s winner Rafael Nadal, who goes by the sobriquet “Rafa,” each took home more than $1.5 million.)

Some etymologists theorize that “love” arose from the French word “l’oeuf,” meaning egg — a “zero” on the scoreboard. This is a clever claim, but appears to remain unsubstantiated.

The word “tennis” comes from the French word “tenetz” — meaning “hold!” — the imperative conjugation of the verb “tenir.” (Spanish speakers will recognize this as a cognate with their infinitive verb “tener.”)

Major Walter Wingfield, who laid down the rules for modern tennis, originally had another name for tennis. He called it “sphairistike,” based on the Greek phrase “skill in playing at ball.” Wingfield most certainly laid an egg with that name.

Pennsylvania Grocery Workers Achieve Higher Living Standards.

Food Weekly News November 13, 2008 United Food & Commercial Workers Local 23 members who work for Penn Traffic BiLo ratified a new three year agreement by a four to one margin on October 23, 2008. The new pact increases full-time employees wages by $1.20 per hour and part-time employees will receive between $.90 per hour to $1.70 per hour increase. web site bilo weekly ad

Employee health benefits will remain intact and future increases will be borne by the company up to 15% annually. Contributions to the Legal and Scholarship Fund were increased and most employees will get another paid personal day and three paid sick days annually.

Penn Traffic operates eleven corporate stores and several independents under the BiLo and Quality banners in Western/Central Pennsylvania. go to website bilo weekly ad

The UFCW represents more than 1.3 million workers, primarily in the retail and meatpacking, food processing and poultry industries.

For more information, call Anthony M. Helfer, Secretary Treasurer of UFCW Local 23 at 724-514-3228.

DVD Notebook; Consumers feast on `Silence of the Lambs’.(VARIETY) see here newly released dvds

Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN) February 20, 2001 | Salas, Randy A.

Talk about bad timing.

While “Hannibal” has been killing ‘em at the box office – it surpassed $100 million in just 10 days – two DVDs for the movie that spawned the sequel, “The Silence of the Lambs,” are nowhere to be found. They don’t go out of print officially until March 1, when the rights to “The Silence of the Lambs” revert to “Hannibal” studio MGM, but demand spurred by the current film has made the DVDs largely unavailable.

There are two versions of the “Silence” DVD – a bare-bones widescreen release from Image ($29.99) and a special edition from the Criterion Collection ($39.95). The highly recommended Criterion disc has clearly become the version of choice.

Criterion, which pioneered the use of supplemental material in laserdisc days, slathered on the extras for its widescreen DVD: a tightly edited commentary track by director Jonathan Demme, stars Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins, screenwriter Ted Tally and FBI agent John Douglas; deleted scenes; film-to-storyboard comparisons; more storyboards; the FBI crime classification manual, and quotes from convicted serial killers.

MGM is expected to release its own DVD by the end of the year, but some extras, such as the commentary, probably will be different, because Criterion owns them.

Such is the reputation of Criterion that its “Silence” DVD was the No. 1 seller last week at online retailer Amazon, even though there were no copies available. It went to the top of the sales chart just from people clicking on the “buy” button, hoping for a straggler copy.

The Image DVD also cracked Amazon’s top-50 DVD sellers. Twin Cities-based Best Buy advertised the Image DVD in its Feb. 11 sales circular, expecting demand to rise in anticipation of “Hannibal.” It did – two weeks before the advance-printed circular came out, leaving store bins largely empty by the time the sale was announced.

The demand for the special-edition “Silence” DVD “certainly doesn’t hurt the legend of Criterion,” spokesman R. O’Donnell said. “It’s bad news, good news: We lost the rights, but it helps our reputation.” When asked how consumers could buy the Criterion “Silence,” O’Donnell said, “It’s a dead issue. It’s in collectors’ hands now.” Prices on the resale market are expected to escalate until MGM releases its version.

In the meantime, “Hannibal” fans can content themselves with newly released DVDs for “Manhunter,” the 1986 film by Michael Mann that introduced Hannibal Lecter (played by Brian Cox). That DVD, from Anchor Bay, is readily available in two versions, both widescreen – a single disc with a few extras ($24.98) and a two-disc limited edition ($39.98), which includes a director’s cut of the film and a 24-page collector’s booklet. in our site newly released dvds

Gone, James Bond The Bond DVDs already boast impressive features, so it’s unlikely that their contents will change, but one never knows. MGM has not indicated when the DVDs will be available again.

“Never Say Never Again,” which was not released as a special edition, is expected be taken off the shelves in May.

Digital bits – Outstanding music and innovative filmmaking abound in today’s release of “32 Short Films About Glenn Gould” (Columbia Tristar, $29.95), Francois Girard’s fragmented 1994 biopic about the Canadian classical pianist. Gould gave up the concert stage at the height of his career in the mid-’60s to focus on recordings and other pursuits before dying at the age of 50 in 1982. The DVD, in widescreen or full-screen and in two-channel Dolby surround sound, includes a trailer and little else; oddly, there are no biographical notes about its subject.

- The DVD for Cirque du Soleil’s “Dralion” (Columbia Tristar, $24.95), which visited the Twin Cities last summer, includes multi-angle views for some of the circus’ acts and a making-of featurette. There also is Dolby Digital 5.1 audio and a minimal widescreen presentation.

Salas, Randy A.

45 Comments

  1. John Doh -  May 12, 2014 - 10:37 am

    The origin of love in tennis scoring is obvious: One-on-one games are not much fun if the two players are mismatched, which is invariably the case when families have ‘tennis parties.’

    The English, not a people to ostensibly make others feel bad, introduced ‘love’ as a shorthand form of ‘you may be a crap tennis player, but we still love you.’

    Reply
  2. wolf tamer and tree puncher -  November 26, 2013 - 4:02 am

    My good friend Carmen’s dad plays tennis.

    Both “tenetz” (which is probably pronounced “tene,” where the e is sounded like a, or some weird thing) and “tener” come from the Latin “tenere” meaning “to hold.”

    @Paul:
    The dictionary blog people made an article about a man who tried to create a language he hoped the whole world would eventually speak – a universal language. And I don’t find anything wrong with your writing style.

    @chris:
    Cool idea. I’m not sure that’s it. Good imagination, though! I wouldn’t have thought of that. :)

    Reply
  3. Paul -  October 23, 2013 - 10:19 pm

    Wow, wat about f i rite like dis 4 u, after all its how most people communicate these day’s.. In time all languages will be one.

    Reply
  4. Silverchild -  January 22, 2011 - 2:22 pm

    The score in tennis is 15-30-40 according to the minutes it took the first players of the game to make each point – i don’t know if i say it correctly.

    Reply
  5. chris -  January 21, 2011 - 6:55 pm

    Maybe it is a ZERO. as in, At the point one persues love you start at nothing, you have nothing to lose. No where to go but up. If you are zero… Also perhaps to imply being empty, ready to be filled with love. As ones cup is empty. From the top that too looks like a zero. The passing and volley from one side to another, in lovers exhange. Language is often more artistic then people like to make it.

    Reply
  6. TEETER | BLOGCHI@mayopia.com -  September 3, 2010 - 8:04 am

    [...] according to the drools of other fools. — “TESTICULAR FORTITUDE” as we speak of Rousseau’s Balls though we’re certain he enjoys a great “CACHINNATE” and likes to play not fight. [...]

    Reply
  7. cna training -  July 14, 2010 - 9:26 am

    Wow this is a great resource.. I’m enjoying it.. good article

    Reply
  8. mcp.isabel -  July 14, 2010 - 3:36 am

    a) I recommend the reading of the poem “40 Love” by Roger Gough… Indulge yourselves :)
    b) Isn’t it curious the lack of awareness of the influences of the French language over English? If we took some steps back in time, say, about two handfuls of centuries, we’d notice this LOVEly marriage between both sides and which bore today’s English… Would you find, for instance, the way back to the root of the ‘so English’ word “very”?…

    Reply
  9. Ruth -  July 12, 2010 - 6:31 pm

    Danny, have they ever held a funeral for a dead word???? Do you go to prison if you butcher English? I’m just saying that there is no use in raking someone over the coals for this. Sometimes a person’s highly tuned skill can make them into nothing more than an overused male appendage. Have a little heart.

    Reply
  10. Mr Parrot -  July 12, 2010 - 11:40 am

    The egg reference is still in use in colloquial english. In the north of England where I live, a foolish person is often referred to as a ‘duck egg’ or a big zero!

    Reply
  11. Anne -  July 12, 2010 - 10:17 am

    The article was very interesting. I LOVE tennis!! Good debate, by the way.

    Reply
  12. Anne-Laure -  July 12, 2010 - 9:48 am

    Well, thank you to all of you. I NEVER look up at such “gossip”, but this time I did, because I am French and I played tennis. And boy I loved all those comments. It made me smile (another difficult one, I am autistic on top of ill all).
    Anne-Laure

    Reply
  13. RT -  July 12, 2010 - 9:36 am

    Keep it up, folks. I, too, am a word freak and believe, rightly or wrongly, that the l’oeuf explanation is the correct one. At least it sounds the most plausible. Most of the postings have been very interesting.

    Reply
  14. Danny -  July 12, 2010 - 9:00 am

    Ruth: Really?! That’s a bold assertion in this venue …

    Reply
  15. Ruth -  July 12, 2010 - 8:27 am

    As much as we may all appreciate words, in the end, people are more important.

    Reply
  16. Tom -  July 12, 2010 - 7:37 am

    Debbie, hmm, interesting point, I’ve poked around a bit and it seems as if tenetz is indeed the correct form in Anglo-Norman, the dialect of Norman French spoken in post-invasion medieval England. But the article just says “French” without any clarification so I think it’s still fair to criticise it.

    Reply
  17. Sarah -  July 12, 2010 - 7:31 am

    I don’t mean to put a damper on this loveless debate, but “tenetz” is correct in Old French and, better still, Middle English. The error is perhaps in clarity of communication, not in spelling.

    Reply
  18. caspmct -  July 12, 2010 - 7:29 am

    wow, you all sound so tedious.

    Reply
  19. Florizelle -  July 12, 2010 - 7:28 am

    So there’s no definite answer. How stupid. I mean, the tennis history was good but they didn’t answer the original question. The second part, at least.

    Reply
  20. tom and jerry -  July 12, 2010 - 7:18 am

    well you people are so imature.

    Reply
  21. Debbie -  July 12, 2010 - 7:18 am

    Tenetz is the middle French version of the modern “Tenez”.

    Reply
  22. Sherpa -  July 12, 2010 - 7:05 am

    Tenetz sounds more like ‘tennis’ than tenez – therefore I support the use of ‘tenetz’ over ‘tenez’ regardless of etymological right or wrong. Language was introduced for the purpose of communicating, etymology serves communication – not the other way around. Put cart behind the horse, not in front of it!

    Reply
  23. nicole -  July 12, 2010 - 4:49 am

    Who doesn’t “LOVE” the erotic screaming of a tennis match! That’s my theory…ha ha!

    Reply
  24. Robert -  July 12, 2010 - 4:48 am

    Thank you for the interesting article dictionary.com

    Reply
  25. Robert -  July 12, 2010 - 4:46 am

    By the way… Did you do a spell check with dictionary.com before submitting your comment?? (ohhh sorry double question mark……)

    Reply
  26. Robert -  July 12, 2010 - 4:44 am

    Gee Tom… Get a life! Oh yes, did anyone ever teach you that you should not start a new sentence (in your case a paragraph) with And! Bad, bad, bad English Tom!

    Reply
  27. Jan -  July 12, 2010 - 4:08 am

    I always thought it came from the Dutch word “lof”, which sounds the same and means “praise”. (praise for keeping the opponent from scoring any points yet).

    Reply
  28. Michelle Buss -  July 12, 2010 - 12:34 am

    Aren’t people critical? Get over yourselves.

    Reply
  29. noopy -  July 11, 2010 - 11:06 pm

    tenetz…
    I was blaming myself that I didn’t study French for too long…

    Reply
  30. David -  July 11, 2010 - 10:51 pm

    To Mark at 7:50:

    When Wu, Bengali, Javanese, and Punjabi have made as big a contribution to the English language as French has, I’m sure we’ll all care what you have to say about them. Furthermore, I second the desire for accuracy in spelling for a website whose purpose is, after all, orthography. I don’t feel that this is too much to ask.

    Anyway, the post was interesting. Cheers.

    Reply
  31. njwarriorprincess -  July 11, 2010 - 10:50 pm

    Mark, nothing personal, but your reverse snobbery/hypersensitivity to past attempts to help you have no place in the world of professional print/media. It IS the responsibility of the editor to check for what in fact, given this subject matter, are both pertinent and, to use r-e-a-l-l-y s-i-m-p-l-e words, bad errors. Put aside your obvious dislike of the French, clear your mind & focus on the fact that the article’s subject was in fact whether the source of two key words in tennis came from French or not. In both cases, the writer botched the French word cited, the editor missed it or didn’t even check, and both of these words are in common use (the author could’ve even found them on Altavista, for pete’s sake). Two out of two is a 100% error rate, Mark: that is a glaring rate of failure. And FYI, the “older, more formal” use of the diacritical in writing vs. is still common use unless your laptop makes it difficult (sorry, Mark, I had to do it…just had to – it’s how we hateful linguist types enjoy ourselves, but I SWEAR it still wasn’t personal). Je vous souhaite une bonne semaine ;-)

    Reply
  32. Peyton -  July 11, 2010 - 10:48 pm

    Tom, may I ask why it angers you so much that a few French words are misspelled here? It’s not an article on French spelling after all…
    And if you are so familiar to French wouldn’t you be fully aware that it is in fact not that major of a world language at all, dwindling behind thirteen others.

    Reply
  33. love-forty! -  July 11, 2010 - 9:28 pm

    i thought 0 was dumpling in tennis

    Reply
  34. Aidan Stanger -  July 11, 2010 - 9:18 pm

    The reason for the scoring system is simple enough: they used to use clock style score indicators, moving them round a quarter of the way when someone scored. Originally the positions were fifteen, thirty and forty five, but eventually the five got omitted.

    Reply
  35. Mark -  July 11, 2010 - 7:50 pm

    The above comments are precisely why I will never endeavor to learn French. “Perhaps someone with a basic knowledge of major world languages like French should write this,” sniffs Tom. Major languages like Wu, Bengali, Javanese, or Punjabi, that all have more speakers than French?
    I’d work my butt off for years and then as soon as I got there and had something interesting to say at the table everyone in the room would jump down my throat to correct my grammar.

    Reply
  36. Joe -  July 11, 2010 - 7:29 pm

    So, let’s see. The French “invented” tennis? The game starts with scores at zero all, l’ouef/l’ouef, then progresses onward to a quirky arithmetic process, that seems to be ascribed to some Englishman who may have spent too much time in the noonday sun!

    Reply
  37. Pan Pan -  July 11, 2010 - 5:45 pm

    I second Tom on the need to be accurate in the information. It would be good if dictionary.com could correct the spelling/typo of tenetz to tenez soon to avoid misleading others.

    Reply
  38. Dianna -  July 11, 2010 - 4:03 pm

    Egg in French is l’oeuf (though the older, more formal spelling l’œuf with the translingual o was common).

    Reply
  39. LOVE-LOVE | BLOGCHI@mayopia.com -  July 11, 2010 - 3:45 pm

    [...] up with the HOTWORD and they can’t seem to get away from BALLS — Whether Basket, Tar or Tennis — not to mention Rousseau’s Dog Days calls — What’s Love got to do with [...]

    Reply
  40. Mare -  July 11, 2010 - 3:44 pm

    I researched this before since a previous PE teacher of mine told the class that she’d give extra credit to someone who’d find why ‘love’ is the term for zero in tennis. No one seemed to remember the next day… (It’s ’cause a French word that sounds close to the word “love” means “egg” and eggs have similar shapes to zeroes.)

    Reply
  41. Mujtaba Zaidi -  July 11, 2010 - 3:17 pm

    Yeah..There was no definite answer..

    Reply
  42. Tom -  July 11, 2010 - 2:46 pm

    And in the next paragraph, the imperative conjugation of tenir is tenez, not “tenetz”! That’s 1 out of 3 (slightly better than love) French words spelled correctly. Perhaps someone with a basic knowledge of major world languages like French should write this if etymologies are going to be discussed? It’s unlikely they’d let through such elementary errors.

    Reply
  43. Tom -  July 11, 2010 - 2:40 pm

    It’s spelled “l’oeuf” or “l’œuf” if you have that letter.

    Reply

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked (required):

Related articles

Back to Top