"Love" in tennis

Nichols, Wendalyn WNichols at RANDOMHOUSE.COM
Mon Mar 19 15:42:13 UTC 2001

Surely the 'nothing' sense of "love" is an extension of the 17th-century
expression "playing for love" -- 'play without any wager; play for nothing'?

-----Original Message-----
From: Bapopik at AOL.COM [mailto:Bapopik at AOL.COM]
Sent: Saturday, March 17, 2001 7:59 PM
Subject: "Love" in tennis


   THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, weekend section on Friday, had a piece on the
etymology of the "love" score ("nothing" or "zero") in tennis.  One theory
is that it´s French (l'oeuf?), similar to the "bagel."
   If Grant Barrett wants to check it out, anything on tennis in the 1800s
is worth reading.  One book that might help is TENNIS, PRATIQUES ET SOCIETE
DE LA FRANCE A LA GIRONDE (1995) by Martine Reneaud.
   The MOA database for "tennis" and "love" wasn't much help.
   Anyone who solves this gets a date with Anna Kournikova at the French


BELIZE--It's Be-LEEZ.  As said previously, the Guatemalans say it the other
way...Belize is half British and half American English, with an equal number
of "centres" and "centers."

IT ALL STARTED WITH THE BOOBIES--a poster in Belize by the Belize Audubon
Society.  It's about the young red-faced booby bird, of course.

GIBNUT (ROYAL RAT)--This isn't in OED?  The Queen of England went to Belize
and asked what she was eating.  She was told it was the gibnut, a rat.  It's
been the Royal Rat ever since.

HORNILLA--chimney receptacle used in gold-making, at the Gold Museum in San
Jose.  Not in OED.

TEJUELO--a small sphere of gold.  Not in OED.

AT THE END OF THE DAY--a really rotten explanation of this British phrase is
in you-know-who's column you-know-where.

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