One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1North American The two on dice or playing 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.’
- ‘This can only be bid by the dealer, and is only allowed if the dealer holds the ace, king and deuce of trumps.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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).’
- ‘Some players play with both jokers and with the deuce of spades as the third highest trump in the game.’
- ‘Betting big with a pair of deuces in Texas Hold 'Em could lead to a third deuce and a win on ‘the river.’’
- ‘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).’
- ‘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.’
- ‘In this version, both deuces of Clubs are removed from the combined cards.’
- ‘At other times, it's always deuces when they aren't wild.’
- ‘The deuce of clubs starts - the holder leads it to the first trick.’
- ‘All of the deuces and jokers are wild cards.’
- ‘The high-low deuces were introduced, and the multiple scoring (where strikes were counted apart from points) was devised.’
- ‘But see, you never knew, because deuces became treys in the outer boroughs.’
- ‘‘Five Card Draw, deuces wild,’ David announced, deftly dealing out the cards.’
- ‘Let's say everybody is dealt a bunch of small cards and the dealer has a deuce up.’
- ‘The dealer gave her a deuce and she jumped from fifth place to second place and earned $22,000 in doing so.’
- ‘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 A throw of two at dice.
- ‘If he should now throw 2 deuces for a total of 5, the player then throws all five dice for the third throw.’
- ‘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.’
- 1.2informal, dated A two-dollar bill.
- ‘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.’
The tie score of 40-all in a game, at which a player needs two consecutive points to win the game.
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘Schnyder, serving for the match at 6-5, trailed 0-40 but held her serve after three deuces.’
Late 15th century: from Old French deus ‘two’, from Latin duos.
Used as a euphemism for “devil” in expressions of annoyance, impatience, or surprise or for emphasis.‘how the deuce are we to make a profit?’‘what the deuce are you trying to do?’
- ‘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?’
- ‘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.’
- ‘Well, what the deuce are you waiting for, old boy?’
- ‘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?’
- ‘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.’
a (or the) deuce of a —
informal Used to emphasize how bad, difficult, or serious something is.
- ‘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?’
- ‘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.’
- ‘It makes a deuce of a day of it but it is a great spell between the drills.’
- ‘Then we had to wait a deuce of a time for our bath where we got rid of the Somme mud.’
- ‘I forgot to tell you I think that for about 4 days from the 19th onward we had a deuce of a heat wave.’
- ‘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.’’
Mid 17th century: from Low German duus, probably of the same origin as deuce (two aces at dice being the worst throw).
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