Main definitions of deuce in English

: deuce1deuce2

deuce1

noun

  • 1North American The two on dice or playing cards.

    ‘a doctored die having two deuces’
    • ‘But see, you never knew, because deuces became treys in the outer boroughs.’
    • ‘The dealer gave her a deuce and she jumped from fifth place to second place and earned $22,000 in doing so.’
    • ‘In this version, both deuces of Clubs are removed from the combined cards.’
    • ‘Likewise, if a good player with deuces showing is calling a bet by a pair of Kings, chances are good that the deuces won't lose because Aces over deuces or rolled up deuces are likely.’
    • ‘‘Five Card Draw, deuces wild,’ David announced, deftly dealing out the cards.’
    • ‘This can only be bid by the dealer, and is only allowed if the dealer holds the ace, king and deuce of trumps.’
    • ‘Some players play with both jokers and with the deuce of spades as the third highest trump in the game.’
    • ‘All of the deuces and jokers are wild cards.’
    • ‘If a joker or deuce is discarded, it is placed crosswise on the discard pile so that it remains visible when other cards are discarded on top of it.’
    • ‘Betting big with a pair of deuces in Texas Hold 'Em could lead to a third deuce and a win on ‘the river.’’
    • ‘If anyone goes out of cards during ‘the Count’, the game continues until someone is unable to play a deuce or an ace, and draws their cards.’
    • ‘The deuce of each suit is called the sow (die Sau).’
    • ‘I looked down to find a useless deuce as my stranger and fired a bet out there, while positively holding the worst hand (still a pair of queens).’
    • ‘Let's say everybody is dealt a bunch of small cards and the dealer has a deuce up.’
    • ‘After the deuces are picked up, there is one more round of betting, then it's time for the surviving players to show their cards.’
    • ‘The deuce of clubs starts - the holder leads it to the first trick.’
    • ‘At other times, it's always deuces when they aren't wild.’
    • ‘The high-low deuces were introduced, and the multiple scoring (where strikes were counted apart from points) was devised.’
    • ‘In some games certain cards are wild - either the deuces or a joker added to the deck - and in some games there is a cumulative jackpot which is won by a high hand such as a royal flush.’
    • ‘Yet we don't count up two diamonds from the deuce and two from the trey, but treat each card as a complete unity.’
    1. 1.1 A throw of two at dice.
      • ‘My double-down blackjack bets drew deuces, the ball avoided my numbers in roulette like it owed them money, and if a player needed a card to beat me, then by God, that card was gonna come.’
      • ‘If he should now throw 2 deuces for a total of 5, the player then throws all five dice for the third throw.’
    2. 1.2informal, dated A two-dollar bill.
      ‘a deuce for the hat-check girl’
      • ‘The Legal Tender deuces have always held a special attraction to collectors.’
      • ‘Sure enough, I handed over a twenty and said "two please", back came three fresh Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond deuces.’
  • 2The score of 40 all in a game, at which each player needs two consecutive points to win the game.

    ‘the Swede pegged him back to deuce from 40-love’
    ‘a marathon game that went to eleven deuces’
    • ‘I believe that happens during a deuce when the server has just won a point, and if he or she wins the next point the game is theirs.’
    • ‘Schnyder, serving for the match at 6-5, trailed 0-40 but held her serve after three deuces.’
    • ‘Federer was in the sort of form which took him to the Wimbledon title this year, with Blake staving off an amazing 19 out of 20 break-point opportunities, and surviving 10 deuces in one service game.’
    • ‘Capriati had chances to break the Myskina serve in a long fifth game, but failed to do so and paid the price in the next game when Myskina made the vital breakthrough after a sequence of deuces.’
    • ‘They had a match point in the semi-final against the Cantrells, but Burdett served a double fault on the sudden-death second deuce in which this point is decisive under the rules of the competition designed to prevent drawn-out matches.’

Origin

Late 15th century: from Old French deus ‘two’, from Latin duos.

Pronunciation

deuce

/djuːs/

Main definitions of deuce in English

: deuce1deuce2

deuce2

noun

the deuce
informal
  • Used as a euphemism for ‘devil’ in expressions of annoyance, impatience, surprise, etc.

    ‘how the deuce are we to make a profit?’
    ‘what the deuce are you trying to do?’
    • ‘Surprisingly, there is no recorded conversation along the lines of: ‘Who the deuce sent her that piano?’
    • ‘I'm back and now you can ask me: What the deuce is Deuce Bigelow: Male Gigolo, anyway?’
    • ‘You know I go to bed every night at 9: 30 and hate like the deuce to get up at 5: 30, though I expect I am getting fat.’
    • ‘In 49th Parallel, who knows what the deuce he is doing, other than turning in what I believe to be the only bad performance in any Powell and Pressburger film.’
    • ‘Well, what the deuce are you waiting for, old boy?’
    • ‘And when you feel so extremely a fool and a bad golfer to boot, what the deuce can you do, except throw the club away?’

Phrases

  • a (or the) deuce of a ——

    • informal Used to emphasize how bad, difficult, or serious something is.

      • ‘Tweedy commiserated with Brooks about the task: ‘It is going to be a deuce of a job to replace the Editor; but with the present Journal taken care of, it will give time to think future plans over.’’
      • ‘I forgot to tell you I think that for about 4 days from the 19th onward we had a deuce of a heat wave.’
      • ‘Ken Allen & Les Hair are in the artillery & they have a pretty rough spin occasionally & get in a deuce of a state especially when they are up with the guns.’
      • ‘If Hitler's army had been composed of Movie Nazis, it would have been, to quote any of the cocky, effete soldiers David Niven played in the 60s, a damned deuce of a thing, eh?’
      • ‘Then we had to wait a deuce of a time for our bath where we got rid of the Somme mud.’
      • ‘It makes a deuce of a day of it but it is a great spell between the drills.’
  • like the deuce

    • informal Very fast.

      ‘you go up the ladder like the deuce’
      • ‘I only discovered it by accident, and I have been driving like the deuce to overtake you.’
      • ‘When the bell rang, the little chap said, ‘now Mr., you skin out like the deuce,’ and off the youngster ran, leaving the disconcerted minister to make explanations as best he could.’
      • ‘The air was thick with tear gas, which makes one's eyes water like the deuce.’
      • ‘All day and every day since the stunt we have been shelling and shelled like the deuce.’
      • ‘I hear it is going ahead like the deuce.’
  • the deuce to pay

    • informal Trouble to be expected.

      • ‘‘Mother,’ said little Bobby, bursting into the house all out of breath, ‘there's going to be the deuce to pay down at the grocer's’.’
      • ‘I think it most probable - though of course it's only an opinion - that you'll all have the deuce to pay before you get that malaria out of your systems.’
      • ‘We took down the swing, we dismembered the rope bed, we tore down the clothes line (there was the deuce to pay for that), and joined them all together in one loose whole.’
      • ‘My boy, there is always the deuce to pay.’

Origin

Mid 17th century: from Low German duus, probably of the same origin as deuce (two aces at dice being the worst throw).

Pronunciation

deuce

/djuːs/