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dated An expression of indifference to matters beyond or outside of one's own sphere of concerns. The phrase was popularized in plays in the early 20th century as a jab at the aristocracy and upper class who cared little or not at all for the problems afflicting those in social classes beneath them. Today, the phrase is used more commonly in article and book titles about tennis. Primarily heard in UK. Of course these working-class commoners want more from us, it's in their nature to have such notions of entitlement. Quite appalling really. Anyway—tennis, anyone?
slang Open-mouthed kissing in which both partners' tongues touch. There's this area behind the school where lots of couples go to play tonsil tennis.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
A convention of British drawing room comedies and certain novels of the 1920s and '30s was a brainless but good-natured upper-class twit—think P.G. Wodehouse's Bertie Wooster—who would appear in white flannels (de rigeur for tennis in those days), brandish his racquet, and inquire among the other weekend house-party guests, “Anyone for tennis?” The phrase caught on, as such mindless clichés are wont to do, and decades of wannabe-clever young men on both sides of the Atlantic who felt obliged to say something—anything—would ask, “Tennis, anyone?” even if there weren't a court within miles . . . and then they wondered why no one laughed.
See also: tennis
Endangered Phrases by Steven D. Price Copyright © 2011 by Steven D. Price