Tennis, anyone? 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.
The phrase "Anyone for tennis?" (also given as "Tennis, anyone?") is an English language idiom primarily of the 20th century. The phrase is used to invoke a stereotype of shallow, leisured, upper-class toffs ( tennis was, particularly before the widespread advent of public courts in the later 20th century, seen as a posh game for the rich, with courts popular at country clubs and private estates).
The Oxford English Dictionary (OED – 2 nd edition, 1989) defines the phrase tennis, anyone?, also anyone for tennis?, who’s for tennis?, etc., as follows: a typical entrance or exit line given to a young man in a superficial drawing-room comedy, used attributively of (someone or something reminiscent of) this kind of comedy. Also in extended uses.
The top cliché, “Anyone for tennis?” has become a satirical utterance denoting complete fatuous foolishness. In 1957 the influential British-American commentator Alistair Cooke writing in The Guardian newspaper claimed that Bogart said “Tennis anyone?” during a performance in 1927, but no specific play was named [ACHB]:
'Tennis anyone?' is a way of saying 'I don't worry about things outside my own small circle'. Whether this attitude was ever present in people, it was certainly used as a bit of a weapon against the presumed indifference.
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Some more phrases from our dictionary similar to tennis elbow. tennis anyone? terminal leaves test bed temper temper tempest in a teapot tempus fugit terra firma tender loving care (tlc) territorial pissing tenement buildings tense up tempt fate ten points to Gryffindor territorial pissing term out
Tennis, anyone? Posted by Peter Weiss on December 29, 2003. Does anyone know the origin of this phrase? Tennis, anyone? Peter Weiss 29/December/03; Tennis, anyone?
Best Tennis Slogans. Order on the Court. Serve it, Smash it, Win it, Love it. Respect All, Fear None. If it’s gotta be, it starts with me. Champions train; Losers complain. Refuse to Lose! We’re not waiters (or waitresses), but boy can we serve! All it takes is all you’ve got!