Glossary of cue sports terms

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The following is a glossary of traditional English-language terms used in the three overarching cue sports disciplines: carom (or carambole) billiards referring to the various carom games played on a billiard table without pockets ; pool , which denotes a host of games played on a table with six pockets; and snooker , played on a large pocket table, and which has a sport culture unto itself distinct from pool. There are also hybrid pocket/carom games such as English billiards.

Cue sports Games in which billiard balls are struck with a cue

Cue sports, also known as billiard sports, are a wide variety of games of skill generally played with a cue stick, which is used to strike billiard balls and thereby cause them to move around a cloth-covered billiards table bounded by elastic bumpers known as cushions.

Carom billiards billiards games played on cloth-covered pocketless tables

Carom billiards, sometimes called carambole billiards or simply carambole, is the overarching title of a family of cue sports generally played on cloth-covered, 1.5-by-3.0-metre pocketless tables, which often feature heated slate beds. In its simplest form, the object of the game is to score points or "counts" by caroming one's own cue ball off both the opponent's cue ball and the object ball(s) on a single shot. The invention as well as the exact date of origin of carom billiards is somewhat obscure but is thought to be traceable to 18th-century France.

Billiard table playing surface for cue sports

A billiard table or billiards table is a bounded table on which cue sports are played. In the modern era, all billiards tables provide a flat surface usually made of quarried slate, that is covered with cloth, and surrounded by vulcanized rubber cushions, with the whole elevated above the floor. More specific terms are used for specific sports, such as snooker table and pool table, and different-sized billiard balls are used on these table types. An obsolete term is billiard board, used in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Contents

Definitions and language

The term "billiards " is sometimes used to refer to all of the cue sports, to a specific class of them, or to specific ones such as English billiards; this article uses the term in its most generic sense unless otherwise noted.

The labels "British" and "UK" as applied to entries in this glossary refer to terms originating in the UK and also used in countries that were fairly recently part of the British Empire and/or are part of the Commonwealth of Nations, as opposed to US (and, often, Canadian) terminology. The terms "American" or "US" as applied here refer generally to North American usage. However, due to the predominance of US-originating terminology in most internationally competitive pool (as opposed to snooker), US terms are also common in the pool context in other countries in which English is at least a minority language, and US (and borrowed French) terms predominate in carom billiards. Similarly, British terms predominate in the world of snooker, English billiards and blackball, regardless of the players' nationalities.

British English is the standard dialect of English language as spoken and written in the United Kingdom. Variations exist in formal, written English in the United Kingdom. For example, the adjective wee is almost exclusively used in parts of Scotland and Ireland, and occasionally Yorkshire, whereas little is predominant elsewhere. Nevertheless, there is a meaningful degree of uniformity in written English within the United Kingdom, and this could be described by the term British English. The forms of spoken English, however, vary considerably more than in most other areas of the world where English is spoken, so a uniform concept of British English is more difficult to apply to the spoken language. According to Tom McArthur in the Oxford Guide to World English, British English shares "all the ambiguities and tensions in the word 'British' and as a result can be used and interpreted in two ways, more broadly or more narrowly, within a range of blurring and ambiguity".

United Kingdom Country in Europe

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea separates Great Britain and Ireland. The United Kingdom's 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi) were home to an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.

British Empire States and dominions ruled by the United Kingdom

The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. It originated with the overseas possessions and trading posts established by England between the late 16th and early 18th centuries. At its height, it was the largest empire in history and, for over a century, was the foremost global power. By 1913, the British Empire held sway over 412 million people, 23% of the world population at the time, and by 1920, it covered 35,500,000 km2 (13,700,000 sq mi), 24% of the Earth's total land area. As a result, its political, legal, linguistic and cultural legacy is widespread. At the peak of its power, the phrase "the empire on which the sun never sets" was often used to describe the British Empire, because its expanse around the globe meant that the sun was always shining on at least one of its territories.

The term "blackball" is used in this glossary to refer to both blackball and eight-ball pool as played in the Commonwealth, as a shorthand. Blackball was chosen because it is less ambiguous ("eight-ball pool" is too easily confused with the related "eight-ball"), and blackball is globally standardized by an International Olympic Committee-recognized governing body, the World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA); meanwhile, its ancestor, eight-ball pool, is largely a folk game, like North American bar pool , and to the extent that its rules have been codified, they have been done so by competing authorities with different rulesets. (For the same reason, the glossary's information on eight-ball and nine-ball draws principally on the stable WPA rules, because there are many competing amateur leagues and even professional tours with divergent rules for these games.)

Blackball (pool)

Blackball, also known as reds and yellows and English eight-ball, is a pool game originating in the United Kingdom and popular across Europe, as well as in some former British colonies such as Australia. In the UK and Ireland it is usually called simply "pool". The game is played with sixteen balls on a small pool table with six pockets.

Eight-ball Pool game popular in much of the world

Eight-ball is a pool game popular in much of the world, and the subject of international professional and amateur competition. Played on a pool table with six pockets, the game is so universally known in some countries that beginners are often unaware of other pool games and believe the word "pool" itself refers to eight-ball. The game has numerous variations, mostly regional. Standard eight-ball is the second most competitive professional pool game, after nine-ball, and for the last several decades ahead of straight pool. Unlike nine-ball, ten-ball, or seven-ball where the game's name reflects the number object balls used, eight-ball uses all fifteen object balls.

International Olympic Committee Non-governmental ruling body of the Olympic Movement

The International Olympic Committee is a non-governmental sports organisation based in Lausanne, Switzerland. Created by Pierre de Coubertin and Demetrios Vikelas in 1894, it is the authority responsible for organising the modern Summer and Winter Olympic Games.

Foreign-language terms are generally not within the scope of this list, unless they have become an integral part of billiards terminology in English (e.g. massé ), or they are crucial to meaningful discussion of a game not widely known in the English-speaking world.

1–9

1-cushion
See the Straight rail billiards main article for the game sometimes called "one-cushion".
1-pocket
See the One-pocket main article for the game.
3-ball
See the Three-ball main article for the game.
3-cushion
See the Three-cushion billiards main article for the game.
4-ball
See the Yotsudama main article for the modern Asian game often called "four-ball". See the American four-ball billiards main article for the nineteenth-century game.
5-pins
See the Five-pin billiards main article for the formerly Italian, now internationally standardized game, or Danish pin billiards for the five-pin traditional game of Denmark.
6-ball
See the Nine-ball#Six-ball sub-article for the game.
8-ball
See the Eight-ball main article for the game. See the 8 ball entry, under the "E" section below, for the ball. See 8 ball (disambiguation) for derivative uses.
9-ball
See the Nine-ball main article for the game. See the 9 ball entry, under the "N" section below, for the ball.
9-pins
See the Goriziana main article for the game sometimes called nine-pins.
10-ball
See the Ten-ball main article for the game.
16-red clearance
In snooker, a total clearance in which the break starts with a free ball. The break includes potting a colour ball counting as a red and all 15 reds.

A

above
Used in snooker in reference to the position of the cue ball. It is above the object ball if it is off-straight on the baulk cushion side of the imaginary line for a straight pot (e.g. "he'll want to finish above the blue in order to go into the pink and reds"). It is also common to use the term high instead. [1]
action
1.   Gambling or the potential for gambling (US).
2.  Lively results on a ball, usually the cue ball, from the application of spin.
3.  Short for cue action.
added
Used with an amount to signify money added to a tournament prize fund in addition to the amount accumulated from entry fees (e.g. "$500 added"). [2]
ahead race
Also ahead session. A match format in which a player has to establish a lead of an agreed number of frames (games) in order to win (e.g. in a ten ahead race a player wins when she/he has won ten more racks than the opponent). [1] Contrast race [to].
aiming line
An imaginary line drawn from the desired path an object ball is to be sent (usually the center of a pocket) and the center of the object ball. [3]
anchor
To freeze a ball to a cushion; such a ball may be said to be anchored (British: tight). This term is largely obsolete balkline billiards jargon. [1] :9
anchor nurse
A type of nurse shot used in carom billiards games. With one object ball being anchored (frozen, British: tight) to a cushion and the second object ball just slightly away from the cushion, the cue ball is gently grazed across the face of both balls, freezing the away ball to the rail and moving the frozen ball away the same distance its partner was previously, in an identical but reversed configuration, in position to be struck again by the cue ball from the opposite side to repeat this pattern, back and forth. [1] :9Compare cradle cannon.
anchor space
A 7-inch (180 mm) square box drawn on the table in balkline billiards, from the termination of a balkline with the cushion, thus defining a restricted space in which only 3 points may be scored before one ball must be driven from the area. It developed to curtail the effectiveness of the chuck nurse, which in turn had been invented to thwart the effectiveness of Parker's box in stopping long, repetitive runs using the anchor nurse. [1]
angle of incidence
The angle at which a ball approaches a cushion, as measured from the perpendicular to the cushion. [4] :120 The phrase has been in use since as early as 1653. [1]
angle of reflection
The angle from which a ball rebounds from a cushion, as measured from the perpendicular to the cushion. [1] [4] :120
angled ball
In snooker and pool, a cue ball situated in the jaws of a pocket such that a/the ball-on cannot be struck directly. [1] [5] :32Compare corner-hooked.
arc
The extent to which the cue ball curves as a result of a semi-massé or massé shot.
apex

Also apex ball, apex of the triangle, apex of the diamond or apex of the rack.

The ball placed at the front of a group of racked object balls (i.e., toward the breaker and furthest from the racker), and in most games situated over the table's foot spot. [5] :32
around the table
In carom games, a shot in which in attempting to score, the cue ball contacts three or more cushions, usually including both short rails. [5]
around the houses
Used in snooker to describe the path that the cue ball must take into and out of baulk as a result of poor position play, specifically coming around the baulk colours off 3 or more cushions, normally on a shot on the blue to finish on a red as a result of finishing low on the blue.

B

back
Same as stake (verb). [1]
back cut
A cut shot in which if a line were drawn from the cue ball to the rail behind the targeted object ball, perpendicular to that rail, the object ball would lie beyond the line with respect to the pocket being targeted. [6]
backer
Same as stakehorse.
Steve Davis plays a back spin ball to prevent the play ball from falling into the side pocket.
back spin

Also backspin, back-spin, backward spin. [1]

Same as draw.See illustration at spin.

Contrast top spin.
bag
Chiefly British. Same as pocket.
baize
A coarse woolen cloth used to cover billiard tables, usually green in colour. Sometimes called felt, based on a similarity in appearance, though very different in makeup. [1]
balance point
The point, usually around 18 in. from the bottom of a cue, at which the cue will balance when resting on one hand. [1] [5] :32
balk

Also balk space.

1.  An area defined on a billiard table by one or more balklines. In the eponymous game of balkline billiards, there are eight balks defined by perpendicular balklines, in which only a set number of caroms may be scored before at least one ball must leave the area. [1] :15 In the earlier (and short-lived) "champions' game", there were four triangular balks, one at each corner, defined by single diagonal balklines. Not to be confused with baulk, but see second definition.
2.  An area defined on a billiard table, in games such as pool, snooker, English billiards and bagatelle, by a single balkline (drawn or imaginary) that runs across the table near the head (bottom) end; exactly where depends upon table type and size. This balk is where the cue ball is placed in lagging for lead, for making the opening break shot, and sometimes for other purposes, depending upon the game. This usage of "balk" is strictly technical, and rarely used in practice. In pool, this area is called the kitchen and is divided from the rest of the table by the head string, while in snooker, English billiards and blackball it is the somewhat differently sized and delimited baulk, defined by the baulk line. On baulk tables, which have a "D" inside baulk, and on pool tables with a break box in the kitchen, the actual area from which to shoot is even smaller than the baulk or kitchen, respectively – a balk within the balk.
balkline

Also balk line.

1.  A line drawn horizontally from a point on a billiard table's rail to the corresponding point on the opposite rail, thus defining a region (a balk). In the eponymous balkline billiards there are four balklines, drawn parallel to and typically 14 or 18 inches from the cushions of the table, dividing it into nine compartments or divisions, of which the outside eight are the balks. in which only a set number of caroms may be scored before at least one ball must leave the area. [1] :15Not to be confused with baulk line, though the concepts and etymologies are related. See balk, second definition.
2.  Formerly, in "the champions' game", a line drawn diagonally from a long to a short rail at the corners of the table, defining a triangular balk space at each.
3.  A type of carom billiards game, called balkline billiards, created to eliminate very high runs in straight-rail that relied on repetitive nurse shots. [1] :15
ball-and-pocket
Same as call-shot.
ball-in-hand
Also cue ball in-hand. The option of placing the cue ball anywhere on the table prior to shooting, in a game of pool. Usually only available to a player when the opposing player has committed some type of foul under a particular game's rules [1] [5] :32, 36 (cf. the free throw in basketball by way of comparison). See also in-hand for the snooker definition. A common variation, used in games such as straight pool and often in bar pool, is ball-in-hand "behind the head string", also "behind the line" or "from the kitchen", meaning the ball-in-hand option is restricted to placement anywhere behind the head string, i.e., in the area of the table known as the kitchen.
ball-on

Not always hyphenated. Plural: balls-on. [7] Also on[-]ball.

Any legally strikeable ball on the table in snooker and generally British terminology. [5] For example, in blackball, [7] if a player is playing yellows, any yellow ball (or any solid, from 1 to 7, if using a solids-and-stripes ball set) can be the ball-on until they are all potted, in which case the 8 ball is the ball-on. In snooker, at the beginning of a player's turn, unless all are already potted, any red ball can be the ball-on. [1] Compare object ball.
ball rack
1.  Same as rack (noun), sense 1
2.  Same as scoring rack
3.  A wall rack designed exclusively for storing balls
ball return
A collection bin mounted below the foot end of a table, to which balls potted in any pocket will return by means of gravity-assisted gutters or troughs running from each pocket opening to the bin; these are the ball-return mechanism, which may be internal to the table or an external gutter system. Ball returns have been in use since at least the 1700s. Pockets which simply collect balls are known as drop pockets. [1] A table without a ball return may be called a "drop pocket table", while a table featuring a ball return may be called a "gully table". [5] :37, 39 Coin-operated bar tables have ball-return mechanisms that separate the cue ball from the object balls so that the object balls are captured when pocketed until the game ends, then released when paid for again, while the cue ball is continually returned for continued play after scratches. This type of table can use a variety of methods to distinguish the cue ball from object balls including the Magnetic cue ball, the dense ceramic "rock" and the oversized "grapefruit" ball. Ball return mechanisms have also been devised that use a smaller, lighter cue ball, instead of a magnetic or heavier one. There are tables that use optical sensors to distinguish a standard cue ball from object balls. [8]
banger
A derogatory term for a recreational or beginning player who "bangs" the balls without any thought for position nor attempt to control the cue ball; also a reference to the predilection of beginners to often hit the cue ball far harder than necessary. [9] Compare British potter.
bank
1.  Same as cushion.
2.  Same as bank shot.
bank shot
Also bank. Shot in which an object ball is driven to one or more rails prior to being pocketed (or in some contexts, prior to reaching its intended target; not necessarily a pocket). Sometimes "bank" is conflated to refer to kick shots as well, and in the UK it is often called a double. [1] [5] :32
bank-the-8
A rule variant common in bar pool versions of eight-ball, in which the 8-ball must be pocketed on a bank shot (generally this would either be accomplished via a bank shot proper or a kick shot); shooting the 8 straight in is a loss of game. Players may agree before the game begins to invoke this rule, or one player may challenge another player (who might accept or refuse) to conclude the game in this manner after it is already under way. Playing bank-the-8 can be considered rude if many other players are waiting to use the table, since it often makes the game last considerably longer. Often on bar tables three scratches determines a loss. The same with last-pocket.
bar player
Also bar league player. A player that predominantly plays in bars/pubs, or is in a bar-based pool league. Often used pejoratively by pool hall players to refer to a perceived lesser skill level of such players. See also bar pool, bar table.
bar pool

Also bar rules, pub pool, tavern pool.

Pool, almost always a variant of eight-ball, that is played by bar players on a bar table. Bar pool has rules that vary from region to region, sometimes even from venue to venue in the same city, especially in the U.S. Wise players thus ensure understanding of and agreement to the rules before engaging in a money game under bar rules. Typical differences between bar pool and tournament eight-ball are the lack of ball-in-hand after a foul, the elimination of a number of fouls, and (with numbered ball sets) the requirement that most aspects of a shot be called (including cushions and other object balls to be contacted) not just the target ball and pocket. Bar pool has evolved into this "nitpicky" version principally to make the games last longer, since bar pool is typically played on coin-operated tables that cost money per-game rather than per-hour. Competitive league pool played on bar tables, however, usually uses international, national or local/regional league rules, and is not what is usually meant by "bar pool". Not to be confused with the game of bar billiards.
bar table

Also bar box, pub table, tavern table, coin-operated table, coin-op table.

A distinctive size of pool table found in bars/pubs/taverns as well as various other venues such as family entertainment centers and arcade rooms at bowling alleys. These are smaller than the full-size tables found in pool halls. While typical professional and competition tables are 9 ft (2.7 m) × 4 ft (1.2 m) or 10 ft (3.0 m) × 5 ft (1.5 m), bar boxes are typically 7 ft (2.1 m) × 3.5 ft (1.1 m). However, 4×8 and even 3×6 examples can sometimes be found. In bars they are almost always coin-operated. Most North American brands of bar tables have pocket proportions opposite those of regular tables in that the side pockets are remarkably tight while the corners are more generous and are therefore considered irregular. Another factor is the cue ball; these tables capture object balls to minimize replays, but selectively return the cue ball by identifying it mechanically to allow complete games. To do this they employ one of two mechanisms to return a scratched cue ball; these are oversized or extra-dense. Because these cue balls do not play as competition cue balls (especially with regard to cut (due to their larger size) and stop/draw shots (due to their larger mass) respectively, they change the characteristics of the cue ball and are therefore deprecated by aficionados. smash-through). However, modern bar tables make use of a magnetic core with a regulation or near-regulation size and weight paired with a magnet mechanism within the table's ball return system that separates out the cue ball without requiring cue ball characteristics that affect play. [10] Pool hall players complain also that the cloth used on bar tables is often greatly inferior (in particular that it is "slow" and that english does not "take" enough), and often find that the cushions are not as responsive as they are used to. [1]
baulk
Also baulk area. In snooker, English billiards, and blackball, [7] the area of the bottom of the table that is between the baulk line and the baulk cushion, which houses the "D" and is somewhat analogous to the kitchen in American-style pool. [1] [5] :33
baulk colour
In snooker, any of the three colour balls that get spotted on the baulk line. [1] The left-to-right green, brown and yellow ball order is the subject of the mnemonic phrase "God bless you". [11] :115
baulk cushion
In snooker, the cushion opposite the top cushion and bounded by the yellow and green pockets (i.e. same as bottom cushion ). [1]
baulk line
Also baulk-line. [12] :10 A straight line drawn 29 inches (73.66 cm) from the face of the baulk cushion on a standard 6 × 12 foot snooker table. [1] Its positioning varies on other sizes of tables. Baulk lines may also be drawn on English billiards tables, and even British-style pool tables. The baulk line is an integral part of the "D". The baulk line's position is always determined by measurement from the baulk cushion, in contrast to the similar but different head string, the position of which is determined by the diamonds. Not to be confused with balkline.
baulk rail
Same as bottom rail (UK), head rail (US).
baulk spot

Also middle spot in baulk, baulk line spot, middle of the baulk-line spot, etc. [11] :23–24 [12] :10

The Spot, usually unmarked because of its obviousness at the intersection of the baulk line and long string. As such, it is also the middle of the flat side of the "D". In snooker, same as brown spot . [11] :23–24, 38 [12] :10Compare head spot.
bed
The flat surface of a table, exclusive of the cushions. [1] [5] :33 The bed is covered with billiard cloth like the cushions. The playing area of the table consists of the bed except where the cushion overhangs the bed, i.e. it is all of the bed between the cushion noses. Quality beds are made of smooth-ground slate, though very cheap tables may use particle board or plywood. The earliest beds were simply the surfaces of the wooden tables on which the game was played.
be in stroke
See In stroke.
below
Used in snooker in reference to the position of the cue ball. It is "below" the object ball if it is off-straight on the top cushion side of the imaginary line for a straight pot (e.g. he will want to finish below the black in order to go into the reds). This may seem counterintuitive, see above for an explanation.
big

Also bigs, big balls, big ones.

In eight-ball, to be shooting the striped suit (group) of balls (9 through 15); "you're big, remember", "you're big balls" or "I've got the big ones". [1] Compare stripes, yellows, high, overs; contrast little.Not to be confused with the carom billiards concept of a big ball.
big ball
A carom billiards metaphor, it refers to an object ball positioned and being approached in such a manner that a near miss will rebound off a cushion and still score. It is as if the ball were larger than normal, making it easier to contact. Normally a ball a couple inches from a rail is a big ball, but only if being approached from an angle and if all the prerequisite rails have already been contacted. A ball near a corner can effectively be a foot wide. Not to be confused with the eight-ball term "the big balls". In older British usage the concept was referred to as "large ball". [1] See also "big pocket".
big pocket
A pocket billiards and occasionally snooker term (inherited from carom billiards by way of "big ball", above), it is a metaphor for a shot that is very difficult to miss pocketing for any of a number of reasons, most commonly either because the object ball is positioned such that a near miss on one side of it will likely cause the cue ball to rebound into the object ball off the rail and pocket it anyway, or another ball is positioned such that if the target ball does not go straight in, it is still likely to go in off the other ball in a kiss. It is as if the pocket, for this one shot, had become larger. The term can also refer to the angle of shot toward a pocket, especially a side pocket; the pocket is said to be "bigger", for example, on a shot that is only a 5-degree angle away from straight on, than on a 45-degree angle shot which is much more likely to hit one of the cushion points and bounce away.
billiard

Also billiard shot.

1.  Any shot in which the cue ball is caromed off an object ball to strike another object ball (with or without contacting cushions in the interim). [1]
2.  In certain carom billiards games such as three-cushion, a successful attempt at making a scoring billiard shot under the rules for that game (such as contacting three cushions with the cue ball while executing the billiard). A failed attempt at scoring would, in this context, not be called "a billiard" by players of such games even if it satisfied the first, more general definition. [5]
billiards
1.  In the US, Canada and in many different countries and languages (under various spellings) as well as historically, generally refers to all cue sports;
2.  Sometimes refers to just carom games as opposed to pocket billiards (especially in the US and Canada);
3.  In British terminology, chiefly refers to the game known in the rest of the world as English billiards.
billiards glasses
Billiards glasses Billiards glasses.jpg
Billiards glasses
Also pool spectacles, snooker specs, etc. Eyeglasses specially made for cue sports, with tall lenses, set unusually high, so that when the head is lowered over the cue stick for aiming, with the nose pointing downward, the eyes can still look through the lenses instead of over them. They are especially popular among snooker players (notably, 1985 World Champion Dennis Taylor).
black ball

Also the black.

1.  In snooker, the highest-value colour ball on the table, being worth seven points. [1] It is placed on the black spot. [12] :9 In some (especially American) snooker ball sets it is numbered "7" on its surface.
2.  Chiefly British: The black ball (usually numbered "8") in standard blackball and traditional 8-ball pool, or the slightly larger but otherwise identical number 8 ball in a Kelly pool set (a.k.a. an "American" or more properly a standard WPA pool set). [7] See also 8 ball.
black spot
The marked spot on a snooker table at which the black ball is placed. On tournament-size tables, it is 12 34 inches (324 mm) from the top cushion, on the long string. [12] :9 That is, it is between the top cushion and the pyramid.
blank
1.  An unfinished bottom half of a two piece cue (the butt section) with the splice completed, but the cue not yet turned on a lathe to produce the final shape, and certain features having not yet been added such as a wrap, joint mechanism, butt cap, bumper and inlays. [1] :29
2.  An unsuccessful inning at the table. Also known as a duck egg, goose egg, cipher or naught. [1] :29
blood test
Any very difficult shot that must be made under pressure. [13]
blue ball
1.  In snooker, the colour ball worth 5 points, [1] placed on the blue spot in the centre of the table. [12] :9 In some (especially American) snooker ball sets it is numbered "5" on its surface.
2.  Also the blues. In the eight-ball game variant blackball, also known as eight-ball pool, a differently colored but otherwise identical replacement for the red group (i.e., what would be the solids in an American-style pool ball set). [14]
blue spot
The marked spot on a snooker table at which the blue ball is placed. Regardless of table size, it is at the lengthwise and widthwise centre of the table (i.e. it is the same as the centre spot. [12] :9
body english
The useless but common practice of contorting one's body while a shot is in play, usually in the direction one wishes a ball or balls to travel, as if in the vain hope that this will influence the balls' trajectories; the term is considered humorous. [1] See also English .
bottle

Also shake bottle, pea bottle, pill bottle, tally bottle, kelly bottle.

The bottle used in various games to hold numbered peas, it is employed to assign random spots to players in a roster (such as in a tournament), or to assign random balls to players of a game (such as in kelly pool and bottle pool). [1] [5]
bottom
1.  Chiefly British: The half of the table from which the break shot is taken. This usage is conceptually opposite that in North America, where this end of the table is called the head. Contrast top.See also baulk.
2.  Chiefly American: Exactly the opposite of the above – the foot end of the table. No longer in common usage.
3.  Short for bottom spin, i.e. same as screw (British), draw (American).
bottom cushion
Chiefly British: The cushion on the bottom rail. Also known as the baulk cushion, especially in snooker. Compare head cushion (U.S.); contrast top cushion.
bottom rail
Chiefly British: The short rail at the bottom of the table. Traditionally this is the rail on which the table manufacturer's logo appears. Also known as the baulk rail, especially in snooker. Compare head rail (U.S.); contrast top rail.
bottom spin

Also bottomspin, bottom-spin, bottom.

Same as back spin, i.e. screw (UK), draw (US).Contrast top spin.See illustration at spin.
bouclée
A type of bridge formed between the thumb and forefinger, creating a loop for the cue to pass through. Principally used in carom billiards, the term is French for 'curled'. [15]
break
1.  Also break shot or break off, as a noun. Typically describes the first shot in most types of billiards games. In carom games it describes the first point attempt, as shot from an unvarying cue ball and object balls placement; in many pocket billiards (pool) games it describes the first shot, which is used to separate the object balls which have been racked together; [1]
2.  A series of consecutive pots by a player during a single inning. Most often applied in snooker and English billiards, e.g., "The player had a break of 89 points". [1] [5] (chiefly British; compare US run ). See also Maximum break.
break and dish
Same as Break and run (chiefly British).
break and run
Also break and run out.Chiefly American: In pool games, when a player breaks the racked object balls, pockets at least one ball on the break, and commences to run out the remaining object balls without the opponent getting a visit at the table. Hyphenated when used as an adjective or compound noun instead of a verbal phrase. See also run the table, rack and run.
break ball
In straight pool, the last object ball left on a table before the remaining fourteen balls must be racked so the player at the table may continue their run. It is called the "break ball" because it is common for players to try to leave this ball in such a position that they may easily pot it and billiard off of it to break open the rack of fourteen balls and continue their run.
break box
Diagram showing the break box and its relation to the kitchen area and head string. Nine-ball break box diagram.png
Diagram showing the break box and its relation to the kitchen area and head string .
In European Pocket Billiard Federation (EPBF) nine-ball, the break box is a zone in the "kitchen" of the head (British: bottom) of the table, from which the break shot must be taken with the cue ball, [16] [17] not unlike the "D" zone used in snooker, English billiards and blackball. The break box consists of the middle 50% of the kitchen area, delimited latitudinally by the head rail (British: bottom rail) and head string (not the baulk line), and longitudinally by two parallel lines drawn (on the cloth, or more often imaginarily) from the head rail diamonds that are closest to the head corner pockets, out to the head string (see illustration to the right) on either side. This departure from WPA World Standardised Rules defeats the common break-from-the-side-rail technique for pocketing the 9 ball to win the game on the break; while 9 ball breaks are still possible, they are much more difficult under this rule. [16] This EPBF Euro-Tour requirement was added in 2008 to the Europe vs. US all-star team event, the Mosconi Cup, but has not otherwise been seen much by non-Europeans as of 2011.
break down one's cue
To take one's two-piece cue stick apart. When done before a game's conclusion, it may indicate that the game is conceded. [1] Different leagues have different rules on this matter.
bridge
Either the player's hand or a mechanical bridge used to support the shaft end of the cue stick during a shot. Also the particular hand formation used for this purpose (there are many). [1] [5]
bridge hand
The hand used by a player as a bridge during a normal shot that does not involve a mechanical bridge. The bridge hand is usually a player's non-dominant hand. [1]
brown ball
Also the brown. In snooker, the highest-value baulk colour, worth 4 points. [11] :38 It is placed on the brown spot. [11] :38 [12] :9 In some (especially American) snooker ball sets it is numbered "4" on its surface.
brown spot
The spot (often not marked) on a snooker table at which the brown ball is placed. Regardless of table size, it is the middle point of the baulk line. [11] :38 [12] :10 I.e., it is the same as the baulk spot. [12] :10 The left-to-right order of the green, brown and yellow balls is the subject of the mnemonic phrase "God bless you". [11] :115
bumper
The bumper on the bottom of a cue, usually made from rubber, which insulates the butt cap from contact with the floor and greatly reduces noise. The bumper was first patented in 1880. [1]
burnish
1.  To seal the pores of a wooden cue's shaft by rubbing vigorously with some material. Leather is commonly employed for the task, as is paper money.
2.  To similarly vigorously rub the edge of a cue tip (especially a new one) to fortify it against mushrooming and ensure that it is perfectly flush with the ferrule.
3.  To smooth out minor dents in the shaft with a rigid burnisher.
burnisher
1.  A pad, usually of leather, used to burnish (seal the wood pores of) a cue shaft.
2.  A rigid tip tool used to finish and harden the sides of a new cue tip.
3.  A shaft maintenance tool, most commonly a cylindrical glass rod, used for smoothing minor nicks in the shaft. This is sometimes done after swelling the wood at the nick site with some moist application.
bushka rings
Named after their innovator, legendary cuemaker George Balabushka, Bushka rings are decorative bands of material incorporated into pool cues, commonly just above the wrap area, in the form of ebony and ivory blocks, or sometimes other materials, alternating in a checked pattern. [18]
business, doing
Collusion between matchplay opponents who prearrange who will win a match on which other people's money is wagered, in order to guarantee a payday. [1]
butt
The bottom portion of a pool cue which is gripped by a player's hand. [1] [5]
butt cap
A protective cap mounted on the end of the butt of a cue.
button
A point bead on a scoring string. [19]

C

calcutta
A player's auction at a pool tournament. Each player is called and players and spectators bid on the player. The highest bidder(s) pays their bid to the calcutta, and by doing so invest in that player's success. If a player wins or places in the tournament, those who "bought" the player receive a percentage of the total calcutta payout, usually tracking the percentage payout of the tournament prize fund. Typically, players have the option of purchasing half of themselves when the high bid is won by a third party. Like english and scotch doubles, usually not capitalized.
call
Any instance of a player having to say what they are about to do. For example, in straight pool a player must call the pocket in which a ball is intended to be potted. More formal terms, used in rule books and instructional materials, include designate and nominate. Contrast fish, slop.
call-safe

Also called-safe

Applies specifically to games that enforce " call-pocket /call-safe" rules, which require the player to either call the ball and pocket, or call a safety on every shot. After a legal shot, where a called ball is not pocketed as designated, the incoming player has the option to pass the shot back to the player who missed the called shot. If a player calls "safe", then after a legal shot, the incoming player must accept the next shot, and may not pass the shot back to the player who called "safe". [20] A call-shot/call-safe nine-ball example: Player A calls the ball-on , the 3 ball in this case, in the corner pocket but misses the shot. The cue ball rolls down table and comes to rest behind the 5 ball leaving no clear path to the 3 ball for the incoming player B. Since player A did not call "safe", incoming player B may elect to pass the shot back to player A (who must shoot).
call-shot

Also called-shot; call-pocket or called-pocket.

Describes any game in which during normal play a player must call the ball to be hit and the intended pocket; "eight-ball is a call-shot game." [5] Sometimes referred to as "call[ed]-pocket", "ball-and-pocket rules", etc., to distinguish it from the common North American bar pool practice of requiring every aspect of shots to be called, such as caroms, kicks, and cushions to be contacted (this is sometimes also ambiguously referred to as "call-shot", but more accurately termed "call-everything" or "call-it-all"). Commonly in bar rules terminology, call-shot indicates how the shot will be made as compared to call-pocket which means simply that the ball must go into that pocket, details unnecessary. Though technically all shots are called shots, obvious shots are seldom actually called; however, you must still make what was intended. See also gentlemen's call.
called ball
The ball designated by a player to be pocketed on a shot. [5]
called pocket
The pocket designated by a player to which a ball is to be shot. [5]
cannon
British/Australian and sometimes Canadian term for carom. Formerly (19th century) sometimes spelled canon. [21]
carambole

Also carambola.

1.  The red object ball in carom billiards games. The term is thought to be derived from an orange-colored, tropical Asian fruit, called a carambola in English, Spanish, and several other languages, in turn from karambal in the Marathi language of India. [1] [22]
2.  A general-purpose term for carom billiards games
3.  (Obsolete.) Alternate name for the game of straight rail
4.  A carom.
card
Short for tournament card. [19]
carom
1.  Carom came into use in the 1860s and is a shortening of carambola, which was earlier used to describe the red object ball used in many billiards games. [1] In modern usage, the most general meaning of the word refers to any type of strike and rebound, [23] (a carambole) off a cushion or especially a ball.
2.  More specifically, short for a carom shot, a cannon in British terminology, in which a point is scored in carom billiards games by careening the cue ball into the two object balls. [5]
3.  In pocket billiards games as a general class, carrom or carom shot is sometimes used more loosely, between the above two definitions, to refer to clipping an object ball with the cue ball to attempt to send either or both to desirable locations, not necessarily scoring in the process; in the related lawn game croquet, this is termed a roquet, and triggers a special ball-in-hand rule. In games in which pocketing the cue ball is a goal (e.g. Russian pyramid), carom can refer to sending the cue ball into a pocket after contacting an object ball (called a losing hazard in English billiards, it nevertheless scores points; but it is a foul in snooker, called an in-off, and in pool, called a scratch).
carom angle
carpetbagger
See Lemon.
carrom
Carrom is a table-top game of India, sometimes played with a small cue stick though more often with the fingers, in which small disks are slid on a game board to knock other disks into pockets cut into the corners of the board. It is ancestral to several other games, including novuss, pichenotte, pitchnut, crokinole, and Chapayev.
catch a stroke
See Stroke, catch a.
centre spot
Also centre spot, . The spot (usually unmarked, except in snooker) [12] :9 at the geometric center of the bed of the table. [5] It lies at the intersection of the center string and long string. In snooker, it is more commonly known as the blue spot [12] :9 Uncommonly it is also called the middle spot.
centre string
Also center string. The (usually unmarked) line bisecting the centers of the two long rails (and of the side [Brit.: centre] pockets if any) and the center spot. It thus runs widthwise (i.e. the short way) across the center of the table. Its intersection with the long string, running lengthwise down the middle of the table, defines the position of the center spot.
A player with her bridge hand close to the centre pocket Youth-centre-girl-billiards-wallpaper-preview.jpg
A player with her bridge hand close to the centre pocket
centre pocket
In the UK, one of the two pockets one either side of a pool, snooker or English billiards table halfway up the long rails. They are cut shallower than corner pockets because they have a 180 degree aperture, instead of 90 degrees. Also sometimes called a middle pocket. These terms are not generally used in the US, where side pocket prevails.
century

Also century break .

In snooker, English billiards and other British usage, a break of 100 points or more, which involves potting at least 26 balls consecutively, in snooker, but can be earned via a combination of scoring techniques in English billiards, etc. A century also means scoring 100+ points in a single turn in straight pool. A century of centuries is the achievement of 100 or more century breaks in a career, a feat few players have performed to date. See also double century.
chalk
A powdered substance placed on a cue's tip to increase its friction and thereby decrease slippage between the tip and cue ball. Cue "chalk" is not actually chalk (calcium carbonate) at all, but a compound of silica and aluminium oxide. Chalk is sold in compressed, dyed (most commonly blue) cubes wrapped on five sides with a paper label, and is applied (properly) in a manner similar to lipstick on the mouth. Chalk is essential to shots involving spin, and failure to use it frequently during a game is likely to lead to miscuing. [1] :44–45 Modern cue chalk was co-invented by pro player William A. Spinks and engineer William Hoskins. [24] [25] See also talc, often incorrectly referred to as "hand chalk".
chasing one's money
The inability of some players to stop gambling once they have lost money because they "have" to get their money back.
cheat the pocket
To aim at an object ball such that it will enter one side or the other, rather than the center, of a pocket (and possibly striking the facing of the pocket then rebounding into the pocket). This permits the cue ball to strike the object ball at a different contact point than the most obvious one. Cheating the pocket is employed for position play, to allow a ball to pass another partially obscuring the path to the pocket, and to prevent scratches on dead-straight shots in cases where draw is not desirable (or may not be dependable, e.g. because of distance from the pocket or smash-through). [26] The amount of pocket cheatability available varies widely by game, due to equipment differences. Pool has wide and thus very "cheatable" pockets, while snooker and Russian pyramid have pockets barely wide enough to admit a ball and therefore little room for error or for pocket-cheating.
check side
also checkside or check is a type of spin imparted to the cue ball to make it rebound from a cushion at a shallower angle than it would if the spin had not been used. Normally played when the natural angle is no good to the player for the next shot. [1] :48
chesney
Sometimes known as a "Chesney Allen", a slight indentation in the table's slate which can add behavioral aspects to any ball passing over it. Tables containing a chesney are legal for match play, but are generally avoided by serious and professional players.
chinese snooker
Chinese snooker on the red ball Chinese Snooker.png
Chinese snooker on the red ball
A situation where the cue ball is directly in front of another ball in the line of the shot such that the player is hampered by it, having to bridge over it awkwardly with the likelihood of a foul looming if the object ball is inadvertently touched. [27] The term is most common in the game of snooker but is used in U.S. parlance.
chuck nurse
Known as a rocking cannon in British terminology. A type of nurse used in carom billiards games. With one object ball frozen (British: tight) to a cushion and the second object ball a few inches away from the cushion, the cue ball is gently rebounded off the frozen ball not moving it, but with just enough speed to meet the other object ball which rocks in place, but does not change position. Developed to thwart the restrictions emplaced by the Parker's box. [11] :8 [28]
choke
To commit errors while shooting, especially at the money ball, due to pressure. [1] :50See also dog, one-stroke.
cinch a ball
To play a shot with the stroke and speed that makes it easiest to pocket the object ball, even at the expense of sacrificing position. [6]
cinch a pocket
To maneuver a ball on a shot so that it will be favorably positioned for later play into a particular pocket, even at the expense of sacrificing position or the inning to achieve that result. [6]
cinch position
To play a shot using a more difficult application of stroke and speed to achieve a certain desired position for the next shot, even at the expense of or sharply increasing the likelihood of a miss. [6]
clean
1.  Chiefly British. Describing a pot that goes straight into the pocket without touching either knuckle.
2.  Chiefly American. Describing a shot in bar pool: the pocketing of an object ball in a manner such that the target object ball does not kiss any other object ball, and is not banked, kicked, caromed, or combo'd in, and without double-kissing, though it may hit the knuckles, and depending upon local bar-rules may be allowed to contact either of the cushions, not just at the knuckle, that run into the target pocket. Usage example: "The 7 in that corner, clean". Usage can be narrower, to indicate clean other than as already specified, e.g. "bank the 7 in that corner, clean".
clearance
In snooker and British pool, the successful potting of all object balls-on in a single frame. A player is said to have "cleared up" or to have "cleared the table". Also, if a snooker player compiles a break consisting of all 15 reds with colours, then the colours in sequence, this is known as a "total clearance". Compare break and run.
cling
Phenomenon where two balls, (usually the cue ball and an object ball) have some foreign material (often residual chalk or dirt picked up from unbrushed cloth) between them at the point of contact, resulting in the struck object ball being thrown offline from the expected trajectory, and often also affecting the post-impact path of the cue ball. A typical precaution against cling is to ask for the cue ball and/or object ball to be cleaned by the referee in order to remove chalk that is already on the ball prior to the shot. The table cloth should also be clean. However, no precaution can ward against cling resulting from chalk transferred from the cue tip to the cue ball during a single shot. Coincidental cling can therefore cause unpredictable play and occasionally lead to rudimentary shots being missed at even the highest levels of the game. [29] "Cling" (and derived words like "clung", "clinger", "clinging", etc.) may be used as a mass noun, less commonly as a count noun, as a verb, and rarely as an adjective ("cling is annoying", "two clings in one frame", "they clung", "unintentional cling shot", respectively). Also known as skid, or in the UK, kick (sense 2).See also dead ball, sense 2.
closed bridge
Also loop bridge. A bridge formed by the hand where a finger (normally the index finger) is curved over the cue stick and the other fingers are spread on the cloth providing solid support for the cue stick's direction. A closed bridge is less common in snooker play than in other games. [1] :52–3Compare Open bridge.
cloth
The baize cloth covering the tables playing surface and rails, usually made from wool or a wool-nylon blend. In use since the 15th century, cloth is traditionally green-colored, chosen for its evocation of grass. Sometimes cloth is improperly referred to as "felt." The properties of the cloth used to cover a table, as well as environmental conditions that can affect it—notably humidity, the degree it has been stretched when installed, and its level of cleanness—have a profound effect on play. [1] :53See also fast.
cloth speed
Same as table speed.
cluster
Two or more object balls that are touching or are close together. More rare uses of the term include the intended action of a gather shot, and a run of points. [1] :53
cocked-hat double
Also cocked hat double. A term applied especially in snooker for a type of double off three cushions, e.g. around the baulk colours and into a centre pocket. Such a shot is very difficult to make and would not normally be played as anything more than a shot for nothing.
collar
The protector of the joint of the cue on the joint end of the butt and shaft (i.e., the butt collar and shaft collar respectively). Most modern cues use collars of steel and/or other materials, but carom billiards cues usually have a collarless wood-on-wood joint, [30] as do "sneaky petes".
collision-induced side spin
Side spin imparted to an object ball by the friction from the hit of the cue ball during a cut shot.
collision-induced throw
Deflection of an object ball's path away from the impact line of a cut shot, caused by sliding friction between the cue ball and the object ball. One of the two types of throw.
colour ball
A complete set of snooker balls with 15 red balls, six coloured balls and cue ball. Set of Snookerballs.png
A complete set of snooker balls with 15 red balls, six coloured balls and cue ball.

Also coloured ball(s), colour(s); American spelling color sometimes also used.

1.  In snooker, any of the object balls that are not reds. A colour ball must be potted after each red in the continuation of a break, and are re-spotted until the reds run out, after which the colours must be potted in their order:

  •    yellow (2 points);
  •    green (3 points);
  •    brown (4 points);
  •    blue (5 points);
  •    pink (6 points);
  •    black (7 points).
Although the full term includes "ball" after the colour, they are most commonly referred to with the omission of "ball", just stating the colour (e.g. "he's taken five blacks with reds so far").
2.  In blackball, a generic, collective term for the red and yellow groups of object balls, corresponding to the (originally American, but used much more widely today) solids and stripes, respectively. [7]
combination
Also combination shot, combo. Any shot in which the cue ball contacts an object ball, which in turn hits one or more additional object balls (which in turn may hit yet further object balls) to send the last-hit object ball to an intended place, usually a pocket. [5] In the UK this is often referred to as a plant.
contact point
The point on each of two balls at which they touch at the moment of impact. [5]
containing safety
A type of safety shot in the middle of a safety exchange that is not intended to put the opponent in a difficult situation regarding their next safety, but rather played so as to not leave an easy pot on. A typical example in snooker, which sees the most shots of this kind, is a slow roll-up into the pack.
corner-hooked
When the corner lip of a pocket blocks the path of the cue ball from contacting an intended object ball. Interchangeable with "tittie-hooked". [5]
corner pocket
Any of the four pockets in each corner of a pool or snooker table. They have a 90 degree aperture and as such are cut deeper than center pockets, which have 180 degree apertures.
count
1.  A successful shot or score; more common in carom games. [5]
2.  The running score during a game inning where multiple successive points have been made. [5]
cotgrave
Similar to fluke whereby a shot is played with seemingly no aim to a pot or snooker but ends up with the desired outcome.
counter rack

Also counting rack, counter ball rack, [11] :187 etc.

Same as scoring rack.
cradle cannon
A type of nurse shot used in English billiards in which two coloured balls are positioned on either side of the mouth of a snooker table pocket but not touching and, thus placed, can be successively contacted and scored off over and over by the cue ball without moving them. The cradle cannon's first known use was by Walter Lovejoy in 1907. The unofficial record using the shot is held by Tom Reece who in 1907, over the course of a month, scored 499,135 points using the cradle cannon before stopping without missing. This feat prompted the Billiards Association to outlaw the shot. The official record is held by William Cook with 42,746 points scored. [1] :62Compare anchor nurse.
creep
Deviation of a ball from its initial direction of travel. Often the result of a poor-quality table and may be an artifact of the cloth, the bed, a ball with uneven weight distribution, or simply the floor the table stands on being uneven. It should not be confused with the nap of the cloth.
cribbage
A set of paired balls in the game of cribbage pool that have a number value which combined equal 15. For example, the 8 ball and the 7 ball added together equal 15 and thus constitute one cribbage if pocketed in succession. [31]
cross
Cross rake Hilfsqueue the cross.png
Cross rake
Also cross rake or jigger. A type of rest, with a straight shaft and "x"-shaped head for resting the cue upon.
cross-corner
A bank shot that rebounds from a cushion into a corner pocket across the table. [5]
cross double
A British term describing a bank shot in which the cue ball crosses the future path of the object ball. Such shots are usually played into a center pocket because there is the danger of a double-kiss if played to a corner pocket.
cross-side
A bank shot that rebounds from a cushion and into a side pocket. [5]
crotch
The corner formed by the rails on a carom billiards table. In modern straight rail rules, only three counts may be made while both object balls are inside the boundaries of the crotch before one ball must be driven away. The boundaries of each of the four crotch areas are measured by drawing a line from the first diamond on the end rail to the second diamond on the long rail. [5]
Crucible Curse
The phenomenon that (as of 2016) no first-time winner of the World Snooker Championship has successfully defended the title the following year since it moved to the Crucible Theatre in 1977.
cue
1.  Noun:Also cue stick. A stick, usually around 55-60" in length with a tip made of a material such as leather on the end and sometimes with a joint in the middle, which is used to propel billiard balls.
2.  Noun: Sometimes "cue" is short for cue ball.
3.  Verb:Same as stroke, definition 1
cue action
Chiefly British: The posture and timing used by players on their shots, often indicative of how they play in their shot selection. A fast, natural player would tend to be more aggressive whereas a less naturally gifted player might have a slow action and tend to be more conservative on the table. It is widely thought that better snooker players get lower to the table with their chins on the cue, have a straight back leg, their elbow hinging in line with the shot, and a straight follow-through after the cue ball has been struck.[ citation needed ]
cue ball
Also cue-ball, cueball. The ball in nearly any cue sport, typically white in color, that a player strikes with a cue stick. [5] Sometimes referred to as the "white ball", "whitey" or "the rock". [32] For more information, see the billiard ball main article.
In Russian pyramid, the cue ball is usually red, but any ball can be used as a cue ball, with the exception of dynamic pyramid variant.
cue ball control
See position play.
cue holder
1.  A portable device for holding cues upright and at the ready for immediate use. The most common types are either weighted and placed on a table top, with semicircular cut-outs into which cues may lean, or clamping varieties that firmly affix to a table and which have clips or holes into which cues are placed for added security.
2.  Same as cue stand.
3.  Same as wall rack.
cue power
A chiefly British term describing the amount of control a player can retain when playing shots with heavy spin and great pace; "it took tremendous cue power to get onto the 2 ball having been relatively straight on the 1".
cue rack
1.  Same as cue stand.
2.  Same as wall rack.
cue stand
A piece of stand-alone or "island" furniture designed to store cue sticks and sometimes other accessories such as the mechanical bridge (rest), balls, chalk, etc., when not in use. Contrast wall rack.
cue stick
Also cue-stick, cuestick.Same as cue.
cue tip
A material, usually leather, placed on the end of a cue stick which comes in contact with the cue ball. [5]
curve shot
Same as semi-massé. Compare swerve shot.
cueist
A player of cue sports.
cushion
The elastic bumpers mounted on all rails of a billiards table, usually made from rubber or synthetic rubber, from which the balls rebound. [5]
cut shot
Technically, any shot that is not a center-to-center hit, but almost always employed when describing a shot that has more than a slight degree of angle. [5] For specific cushion parts, see: facing, knuckle, and nose.

D

"D", the
A semicircle with an 11 12-inch (291 mm) radius, drawn behind a snooker table's baulk line, centred on the middle of the line, and resembling the upper case letter "D" in shape. The "D" is also used in English billiards and sometimes also in blackball and other pool games played on British-style tables. [5]
dart stroke
A short and loose stroke performed in a manner similar to the way one throws a dart; usually employed for a jump shot. See also nip draw.
dead
When two or more object balls are frozen or nearly frozen to each other, such that cue-ball contact with one object ball, without the necessity of great accuracy, will almost certainly pocket an intended object ball in the cluster. The most common form of dead arrangements are the dead combination or dead combo (a combination shot in which contact with the first object ball will pocket another one), and the dead kiss, in which contact with the first object ball will pocket it off of another one. See also wired.
dead cushion
Same as dead rail. [6]
dead ball
1.  Short for dead ball shot.
2.  A ball that has been used for some time, with a dirty surface, as opposed to a slick new (or highly polished used) ball. [19] A spinning dead ball will transfer more spin to other balls it comes into contact with, and not be as fast on the cloth. Even cut shot angles may be affected because of the cling or skid (British: kick) effect, and professional players often ask a referee to clean a ball, mid-game.[ citation needed ] Others may actually be more used to dead balls and prefer them. [19]
dead ball shot
Same as kill shot. [5]
dead rail
A cushion that has either lost a degree of elastic resiliency or is not firmly bolted to the frame, in both cases causing balls to rebound with less energy than is normal.
dead stroke
When a player is playing flawlessly, just "cannot miss" and the game seems effortless.
deadweight
Describing a pot played at such a pace as to just reach the pocket and drop in without hitting the back.
deflection
Displacement of the cue ball's path away from the parallel line formed by the cue stick's direction of travel; occurs every time english is employed. The degree of deflection increases as the amount of english applied increases. It is also called squirt, typically in the United States.
The physics of the squirt or deflection phenomenon has been analyzed in other contexts, such as with ice-hockey pucks. [33] [34] Squirt has also been applied metaphorically in sports journalism and the gaming press to describe the escape of a ball or puck from player control. [35] [36] However, it remains primarily a cue sports technical term, and does not appear to be frequently used as jargon in football, hockey, or other sports.
deliberate foul
A shot, especially common in straight pool and in some variants of blackball (but not WEPF/EPA rules [7] ), in which a player intentionally commits a foul with the object in mind of either leaving the opponent with little chance of running out or simply to avoid shooting where no good shot is presented and to do anything else would give the opponent an advantage. It is often referred to in straight pool as a "back scratch."
designate
Same as call. (Formal.)
develop
To move a ball (usually deliberately) from a safe position, e.g. close to the middle of a cushion or in a cluster, so that it becomes pottable.
diamond
1.  
A manufacturer's sample board showing various styles of diamond inlays for billiard tables. Pool table diamond samples2.jpg
A manufacturer's sample board showing various styles of diamond inlays for billiard tables.
One of a number of identical markings, usually inlaid into the surface above the rail cushions, used as target or reference points. Three equally spaced diamonds are normally between each pocket on a pool table. On a carom table, the pockets themselves are replaced by additional diamonds. Diamonds get their name from the shape of the markings traditionally used; though many today are round, square, etc., these rail markings are still referred to as "diamonds". They are also referred to as sights, especially in British English. (See also diamond system.)
2.  
Racking up a game of seven-ball using the diamond rack more commonly used for nine-ball, but sideways. The 1 ball is about to be placed on the foot spot to complete the rack. Seven-ball diamond rack 1a.jpg
Racking up a game of seven-ball using the diamond rack more commonly used for nine-ball, but sideways. The 1 ball is about to be placed on the foot spot to complete the rack.
A particular shape of ball rack, in the form of a parallelogram ("diamond shape"), used for racking games of nine-ball and seven-ball, though the triangle rack can also be used for the former, and hexagonal racks also exist for the latter. (See also triangle.)
diamond system
Any system for banking or kicking balls multiple rails which uses table diamonds as aiming references.
discipline
1.  A cue sports game (such as eight-ball, three-cushion billiards, 18.2 balkline, etc.), especially as a professional or serious amateur specialization: "He was a World Champion in three billiards disciplines."[ citation needed ]
2.  An artistic pool term for a category of trick shots; artistic pool is divided into eight disciplines, and APTSA tournaments present both discipline-specific and all-around awards. [37]
dish
Same as run out (chiefly British). See also break and dish.
divot
An indentation in the cloth of the table, especially at the foot spot where the apex ball is often tapped into secure position during racking. In extreme cases, the indentation may actually be in the slate bed of the table, from excessive tapping over many years, and can cause unexpected table roll s. A racking template is used to intentionally create minor divots for all of the balls in a rack.
dog

Also dog it.

1.  A widespread term in US parlance describing missing a relatively easy shot—often in the face of pressure. Can be used in many forms: "I dogged the shot"; "I hope he dogs it"; "I'm such a dog." [6] [38] See also choke, one-stroke.
2.  Same as slop shot (chiefly Southern US, colloquial).
dots
In chiefly UK parlance, the non-striped ball group of a fifteen ball set that are numbered 1 through 7 and have a solid color scheme. Compare solids, reds, low, small, little, spots, unders; contrast stripes.
double
Same as bank shot (chiefly British).
double century
Also double-century break. In English billiards, a break of 200–299 points (i.e. double a century). [39] Larger multi-centuries are regularly achieved. Rare in amateur play, triple centuries are routine (and quadruples not uncommon) at World Professional Billiards Championships; 2007 winner Mike Russell shot four triples in the final round alone, while of sixteen competitors, three shot quadruple centuries (one once, one twice, and Russell three times). Quintuple centuries are rare even at the professional level, with only the 494 shot by nine-time world champion Russell (who has more such titles than any other player in history (As of 2007) coming close in that event. [40] As of 2007, Peter Gilchrist holds the world record, at a tredectuple century (and then some) of 1346 consecutive points. [41]
double cheeseburger, the
Same as hill, hill.
double-elimination

Also double elimination.

A tournament format in which a player must lose two matches in order to be eliminated. [5] Contrast single-elimination.
double hit
An illegal shot (foul) in which the cue stick's tip contacts the cue ball twice during a single stroke. Double hits often occur when a player shoots the cue ball when it is very close to an object ball or cushion, because it is difficult to move the cue stick away quickly enough after the cue ball rebounds from the cushion or object ball. [1] [5]
double kiss
A situation in which a ball strikes another ball which is close to a rail and the struck ball rebounds back into the ball it was hit by; usually but not always unintended. [6] [38]
double shimmed
A pool table where two shims have been placed on the sides of each pocket (in the jaws beneath the cloth), making the pockets "tighter" (smaller). Such tables are "tougher" than unshimmed or single-shimmed tables.
double the rail
Sometimes called a snake shot. A carom billiards shot, common in three-cushion billiards, where the cue ball is shot with reverse english at a relatively shallow angle down the rail, and spins backwards off the adjacent rail back into the first rail. [5]
double the pocket
To intentionally rebound the cue ball off both of the pocket points to achieve position. [6]
doubles
A form of team play in which two players compete against another team of two players in any given frame or match. In a doubles game, the first player from the breaking team is the only one who shoots during the opening inning, with control of the table passing to a member of the opposing team at the end of that inning, then upon the end of the opponent's inning to the doubles partner of the original player, and next to the second opponent, play proceeding in this doubly alternating manner until concluded. Contrast Scotch doubles.
down-table
Toward the foot of the table.
down-trou
Also downtrou. A traditional informal (pub pool and university student) rule, in blackball and eight-ball in Australia and New Zealand, is the "down-trou" or "pantsing" requirement: One who loses without pocketing any of one's own object balls is expected to honor this humiliation by dropping one's pants [42] (or skirt). Such a player may be said to have been "pantsed". Depending on local tradition, the loser may be expected hobble a full lap around the pool table with one's pants around one's ankles, or even fully naked.[ citation needed ] The "down-trou" term seems favoured in New Zealand, and "pantsing/pantsed" in Australia. [ clarification needed ] This seems to be an outgrowth a university hazing practice called debagging or pantsing.
drag shot
A shot played slowly and with heavy draw and follow-through so that the cue ball can be struck firmly but with a lot of the pace taken out, allowing more control than just a gentle tap that would travel as far. Also called "Drag Draw".
draw
Also known as back spin, a type of spin applied to the cue ball by hitting it below its equator, causing it to spin backwards even as it slides forward on the cloth. Back spin slows the cue ball down, reduces its travel, and narrows both the carom angle after contact with an object ball, and angle of reflection off a cushion. There are several variant terms for this, including "bottom" and "bottom spin" in the US and "screw" in the UK. Draw is thought to be the first spin technique understood by billiards players prior to the introduction of leather tips, and was in use by the 1790s. [1] See illustration at spin.
draw shot
A shot in which the cue ball is struck below its equator with sufficient draw to make it reverse direction at the moment of contact with an object ball because it is still back-spinning. [1] When the object and cue balls are lined up square, the reversal will be directly backwards, while on a cut shot, the effect will alter the carom angle. It can also refer to any shot to which draw is applied, as in "draw it off the foot rail just to the left of the center diamond". See illustration at spin.
drill
1.  A set practice routine;
2.  To beat badly; "I drilled my opponent."
3.  In British terminology, a bank shot.
drop pockets
Netted or cupped pockets that do not return the balls to the foot end of the table by means of a gutter system or sloped surface beneath (they must instead be retrieved manually). [5]
dry break
A break shot in pool on which zero object balls are potted
duck
1.  (Noun): Derived from "sitting duck", usually referring to an object ball sitting close to a pocket or so positioned that is virtually impossible to miss. Same as hanger (US, colloquial), sitter (UK).
2.  (Verb): To intentionally play a safety.
dump
To intentionally lose a game, e.g. to disguise one's actual playing ability. [9] An extreme form of sandbagging. See also hustle.See also Match fixing for the synonym "tank", used in sports more generally.

E

An 8 ball 8-Ball.jpg
An 8 ball
8 ball
Also the 8. The money ball (game ball or frame ball) in a game of eight-ball and related games (see next entry). It is the last ball that must be pocketed, after the suit of seven object balls belonging to the player shooting for the 8 (pocketing the 8 ball early is a loss of game—unless done on the break, in most rules variants). It is usually black in colour with the numeral "8" in a white circle. In other games, such as nine-ball and straight pool, the 8 is simply an object ball. Due to its striking coloration and regular use as a money ball, it is commonly used as a symbol in popular culture.
eight-ball
One of several games ultimately derived from a game called B.B.C. Company pool, promulgated by the Brunswick-Balke-Collender Company from around 1900 to the 1920s. They have in common the use of a rack of fifteen object balls and a single cue ball, a hard break from behind the head string or baulk line, and a goal of pocketing (potting) all of one's own suit of balls then finally the black 8 ball. There are three general types of this game:
  • eight-ball, an originally American and now internationally standardized professional version, also subject to competitive team play in numerous leagues. It is the most-played form of competition pool in the world, though not for professionals, among whom nine-ball dominates. Uses a set of striped and solid numbered balls. Ball-and-pocket are called for each shot, with fouls (faults) resulting in cue ball in-hand for the opponent, anywhere on the table.
  • blackball a.k.a. eightball pool, an originally British variant, also favoured in many Commonwealth countries, and parts of Continental Europe, with amateur and professional leagues. The two names reflect slightly variant rulesets, which differ primarily in handling of faults (fouls). Shots are not called. Uses a set of yellow and red balls. Pub pool usually consists of minor local variations on one of these two standardised rule sets.
  • "straight eight" a.k.a. bar pool, a widely divergent set of variations on standard eight-ball, and also using the stripes-and-solids ball set. Usually requires a very strict version of called-shot play, in which every aspect of a shot must be pre-specified, including kisses, caroms, kicks, and banks, with loss of turn resulting from any deviation. Outright fouls (faults) result in cue ball in-hand for the opponent, behind the head string only. Rules may vary from venue to venue even within the same city. These variants arose primarily to drag out the game on coin-operated tables ("bar boxes"). In North America, many casual recreational players are unaware any other form of pool exists beyond bar pool.
end rail
Either of the two shorter rails of a billiards or pocket billiards table.
english
Chiefly American: Also known as side spin, english (which is usually not capitalized) [43] is spin placed on the cue ball when hit with the cue tip to the left or right of the ball's center. English has a marked effect on cue ball rebound angle off cushions (though not off object balls), and is thus crucial for gaining shape; and can be used to "throw" an object ball slightly off its otherwise expected trajectory, to cheat the pocket, and for other effects. "English" is sometimes used more inclusively, to colloquially also refer to follow and draw. In combination one could say bottom-right english, or like the face of a clock (4 o'clock english). [5] The British and Irish do not use this term, instead preferring "side". See illustration at spin.
equator
The horizontal plane directly in the center of the cue ball, which when hit exactly by the cue tip should impart no follow or draw.
escape
A successful attempt to get out of a snooker.
extension
Snooker cue with two attachable extensions Snooker cue and extensions.png
Snooker cue with two attachable extensions
1.  Any mechanical aid that serves to extend the length of the player's cue, normally added to the end of the butt either by clipping around the end or screwing into the base. Though extensions are used for pool, it is more common in snooker because of the significantly larger table size.
2.  In a tournament where players get limited time to make their shots (common in televised matches), an extension is extra time granted before making a shot; players have a limited number of extensions in each frame.

F

face
Also cushion face. [12] :9 The protrusion of the playing edge of the cushion from the rail over the bed of the table. [12] :9 The furthest-protruding point of the face is known as the nose of the cushion. The playing area of the table is the space between the faces (technically, the noses) of the cushions. [12] :9
facing
A comparison of the pocket facings of (left-to-right): an American pool table (side pocket); a British-style snooker table (corner pocket); and a Russian pyramid table (side pocket). Pocket facings comparison.jpg
A comparison of the pocket facings of (left-to-right): an American pool table (side pocket); a British-style snooker table (corner pocket); and a Russian pyramid table (side pocket).
The facings of a pocket are the portions of the rail cushions that line the jaws of the pocket. Facings vary widely by game. Pool facings are flat and angled rather wide, on pockets notably larger than the balls, to act much like the backboard in basketball, in that a shot can be directed into the facing to cause it to angle off the facing into the pocket. They are reinforced with plastic shims between the cushion rubber and the cloth, to reduce wear and tear. Snooker facings are curved and not angled, providing a smooth transition between the rails and the pockets, which are not much wider than the balls, thus preventing any backboard effect (snooker shots must be almost perfectly straight in). The facings in Russian billiards are even more challenging, being straight and angled inward rather than outward, which results in the knuckles of the pocket, barely wide enough to accept a ball, rejecting any but the most accurate shots.
fall
1.  Verb, passive, intransitive: For a ball to be pocketed. "The 8 ball fell early, so the game was over quickly."
2.  Noun: The curved edge cut into the table bed at which the hole of the pocket actually begins inside the pocket jaws. [44] :4 The fall may be a sheer drop, as on tournament-standard snooker tables, or have a beveled, down-sloping rim, as on pool tables. A ball is, of course, much more likely to hang when there is no bevel. How far into the pocket the fall begins is one factor that determines "pocket speed" or difficulty.
fast
1.  Describes a billiard table with tightly woven and broken-in (but clean) cloth (baize), upon which the balls move quicker and farther. [1] :53See table speed for more information.
2.  Producing lively action; said of cushions or of the balls, in addition to the above, cloth-related definition. [11] :96
3.  Unusually accepting of balls; said of pockets; see pocket speed (sense 1) for more information. "Slow" is the direct opposite of "fast" in all of these usages.
fat
See undercut.
fault
Same as foul (chiefly British, and declining in usage; even the WPA and WEFP blackball rules use "foul").
feather
Also feather shot. A very thin cut shot in which the cue ball just brushes the edge of an object ball. "Feather" by itself can be both noun and verb (e.g. "feathering the ball"). [4] :238 [5] See also snick.
felt
Same as cloth (deprecated; it is factually incorrect, as felt is a completely different kind of cloth from baize).
ferrule
A sleeve, permanently fitted onto the lathed-down tip end of the cue, made from fiberglass, phenolic resin, brass, ivory, horn or antler, melamine, plastic, or other rigid material, upon which the cue tip is mounted and which protects the shaft wood from splitting due to impact with the cue ball. [5]
firewood
Common slang in the U.S. for a cheap, poorly made cue. Compare wood.
fish
1.  An easy mark;
2.  A person who loses money gambling and keeps coming back for more;
3.  Sometimes, a poor player;
4.  As a verb, either to hit the balls hard with no intention in mind other than to get lucky and perhaps scatter the balls a bit more ("hit-and-hope"), or to shoot hard at the money ball with the same intention ("smash-and-pray"). Compare slop and fluke; contrast mark (sense 3) and call.
flagrant foul
A foul where the rules are blatantly, intentionally violated; in contexts in which this qualifies as unsportsmanlike conduct, a stiffer penalty may apply (e.g. loss of frame) than normal for a foul.
flat-back pack
In snooker, a situation during a frame in which the first line of the remaining reds grouped together, where the original pack was, are in a straight horizontal line. This has implications when opening the pack, as a full-ball contact off the top cushion will usually cause the cue-ball to stick to the red and fail to develop a potting opportunity.
fluke
A shot that has an ostensibly positive outcome for the player, although it was not what the player intended. Examples of flukes include an unexpected pot off several cushions or other balls having missed the pocket aimed for, or a lucky safety position after having missed a shot. Many players are apologetic after a fluke, and in most games such an accident is a loss of turn. Some rule sets (most notably those of nine-ball and related games generally, and the eight-ball rules of the American Poolplayers Association and its affiliates) count flukes as valid, point-making shots. Compare fish and slop; contrast mark (sense 3) and call.
follow
The forward rotation of the cue ball that results from a follow shot. Also known as top spin or top, follow is applied to the cue ball by hitting it above its equator, causing it to spin more rapidly in the direction of travel than it would simply by rolling on the cloth from a center-ball hit. Follow speeds the cue ball up, and widens both the carom angle after contact with an object ball, and angle of reflection off a cushion. See illustration at spin.
follow shot
A shot in which the cue ball is struck above its equator with sufficient top spin to cause the cue ball to travel forward after it contacts an object ball. When a cue ball with follow on it contacts an object ball squarely (a center-to-center hit), the cue ball travels directly forward through the space previously occupied by the object ball (and can sometimes even be used to pocket a second ball). By contrast, on a cut shot, a cue ball with follow on it will first travel on the tangent line after striking the object ball, and then arc forward, widening the carom angle. [5] See illustration at spin.
follow-through
On a shot, the extension of the cue stick through the cue ball position during the end of a player's stroke in the direction originally aimed. [5]
Chiefly American: The half of the table in which the object balls are racked (in games in which racked balls are used). This usage is conceptually opposite that in British English, where this end of the table is called the top. Contrast head.
foot cushion
Chiefly American: The cushion on the foot rail. Compare top cushion; contrast head cushion.
foot rail
Chiefly American: The short rail at the foot of the table. Frequently used imprecisely, to mean foot cushion. Compare top rail; contrast head rail.
foot spot
The point on the table surface over which the apex ball of a rack is centered (in most games). It is the point half the distance between the long rails' second diamonds from the end of the racking end of the table. The foot spot is the intersection of the foot string and the long string, and is typically marked with a cloth or paper decal on pool tables. [5] Contrast head spot.
foot string
An imaginary line running horizontally across a billiards table from the second diamond (from the foot end of the table) on one long rail to the corresponding second diamond on the other long rail. The foot string intersects the long string at the foot spot. It is rarely drawn on the table. [5]
forced shot
Same as cheating the pocket. Principally used in snooker.
force follow
A powerful follow shot with a high degree of top spin on it; usually when the object ball being hit is relatively close to the cue ball and is being hit very full; [5] also known as "prograde top spin" or "prograde follow" (when referring to the action on the shot rather than the shot per se), and as a "jenny" in Australia.
forward spin
Same as follow (top spin).
foul

Sometimes interchangeable with scratch, though the latter is often used only to refer to the foul of pocketing the cue ball.

A violation of a particular game's rules for which a set penalty is imposed. In many pool games the penalty for a foul is ball-in-hand anywhere on the table for the opponent. In some games such as straight pool, a foul results in a loss of one or more points. In one-pocket, in which a set number of balls must be made in a specific pocket, upon a foul the player must return a ball to the table. In some games, three successive fouls in a row is a loss of game. In straight pool, a third successive foul results in a loss of 16 points (15 plus one for the foul). [5]

Possible foul situations (non-exhaustive):

  •   The player shoots the cue ball first into a ball that is not an object ball; [5]
  •   The player shoots and after contacting an object ball, no ball is pocketed and neither the cue ball nor a numbered ball contacts a cushion (excepting push out rules); [5]
  •   The player pockets the cue ball (see scratch); [5]
  •   The player does not have at least one foot on the floor at the moment of shooting; [5]
  •   The player shoots the cue ball before all other balls have come to a complete stop; [5]
  •   The player hits the cue ball more than once during a shot (a double hit); [5]
  •   The player touches the cue ball with something other than the tip of the cue; [5]
  •   The player touches any ball other than the cue ball; [5]
  •   The player causes a ball to leave the table's playing surface without it returning (e.g., jumping a ball off the table); [5]
  •   The player marks the table in any manner to aid in aiming; [5]
  •   The player who has ball-in-hand, touches an object ball with the cue ball while attempting to place the cue ball on the table; [5]
  •   The player shoots in such a manner that his cue tip stays in contact with the cue ball for more than the momentary time commensurate with a stroked shot (a push shot). [5]
frame
A term especially used in snooker and blackball [7] but also in the US for each rack from the break off until a clearance, losing foul or concession has been made. A match is made up of several frames. See also game (sense 1), which has a slightly broader meaning.
frame ball
Same as game ball (chiefly in snooker and blackball). The term is sometimes used figuratively, to refer to the last difficult shot required to win.
free ball
Also free shot.
Freeball situation. Red is snookered, Blue can be called. Snooker Freeball.png
Freeball situation. Red is snookered, Blue can be called.

A situation where a player has fouled, leaving the opponent snookered. In UK eight-ball this would normally give the opponent the option of one of two plays: (1) ball-in-hand with two shots; (2) being allowed to contact, or even pot, a ball other than one from his/her set from the snookered position (although the black may not be potted), with the loss of the first shot. In addition, some variations of the game allow the player to pot one of the opposition's balls, on the first visit only, without the loss of a "free shot".

In snooker it allows a player to call any ball as the ball she/he would have wanted to play, potting it for the same number of points, or the opponent can be put back in without the same privilege, having to play the ball snookered on. The definition of snooker on this occasion means the opponent cannot strike both extreme edges of the object ball (or a cluster of touching balls).
free stroking
1.  Pocketing well and quickly but without much thought for position play.
2.  Playing loose and carefree.
3.  Same as dead stroke.
freeze up
To dedicate a set amount of money that a gambling match will be played to; no one may quit until one player or the other has won the "frozen up" funds.
frozen
Chiefly American: A resting ball that is in actual contact with a cushion or with one or more other balls is said to be "frozen" (or, colloquially, "froze") to that cushion or the touching ball(s). [4] :239 [5] (For frozen combination/combo, frozen kiss, etc., that is almost impossible to miss, see the more common variants under dead). The chiefly British "tight" is equivalent to "frozen", but only applied to frozen/tight to a cushion, not to another ball. For situations in which the cue ball is frozen to an object ball, different rule sets have different approaches. In some, the cue ball must be addressed with the cue at an angle at least 45 degrees divergent from an imaginary line running through the center of the balls, to minimize chances of a push shot. In snooker (and some British pool rules), this is called a touching ball, and the cue ball must be shot away from the object ball without the latter moving.
full
Also full-ball. A type of contact between two balls from which no or little angle is created between their paths; the contact required to pot a straight shot. It is commonly used in reference to how much of an object ball a player can see with the cue ball: "Can you hit that full?".
fundamentals
The basic actions necessary to shoot well—stance, grip, stroke, bridge, follow-through and pre-shot routine.

G

game
1.  Play, from the opening break shot until one player has won (or the game has been halted for some reason by a referee). Games are the units that make up matches, races (in some senses of that term) and rounds. Essentially the same as frame, except with regards to straight pool, which is a multi-rack game.
2.  An identifiable, codifiable set of rules. pool is not a game, but a class of games. Nine-ball is a game.
3.  Note: There are also slang usages, such as "to have game" (to be a good player, as in "he['s] got game") and "to be game" (to be willing to play or to gamble, as in "yeah, I'm game, so let's see what you've got"). But these usages are not particular to cue sports.
game ball
The ball required to win the rack. In snooker and blackball it is called the frame ball. See also money ball. [5]
games on the wire
To give a handicap to an opponent where they have to win a specified number fewer games than the other player in order to triumph in the match. [45] :281, 292 The name refers to posting games on the scorekeeping mechanism known as a wire or scoring string, though the phrase may still be employed when no actual use of the particular device is available or intended.
gapper
An agreement between two players in a tournament, one of whom will advance to a guaranteed money prize if the match is won, to give a certain percentage of that money to the loser of the match. Also known as a saver. [6]
gather shot
In the carom games, any shot where the end result is all the balls near each other; ideally, in position for the start of a nurse on the next stroke. [5]
general average
Abr. = GA, term from carom billiards. The number indicates the overall relation between the points and innings (points ÷ innings = GA) a player has made throughout the whole tournament. E. g. 125 points in 56 innings is a GA of 2.232, Higher numbers indicate better players
gentlemen's call
Also gentleman's call. An informal approach to the "call-everything" variation of call-shot, common in bar pool. Obvious shots, such as a straight-on or near-straight shot for which the shooter is clearly aiming and which could not be mistaken for another shot, need not be called. Bank shots, kicks, caroms and combinations are usually less obvious and generally must be called, though this may depend upon the mutual skill level and shot selection perception of the players. An opponent has the right to ask what the shooter's intention is, if this is unclear.
ghost ball
A common aiming method in which a phantom ball is imagined frozen to the object ball at the point where an imaginary line drawn between their centers is aimed at the desired target; the cue ball may then be shot at the center of the "ghost" ball and, ideally, impact the object ball at the proper aiming contact point. [6] The ghost ball method of aiming results in misses where adjustment is not made for collision induced throw.
go off
Describes the propensity of a player losing small sums of money at gambling to suddenly sharply increase the stakes; often continuing to lose until broke. Compare Chasing one's money.
golden break
(Chiefly British.) In nine-ball a break shot that pots the 9 ball without fouling, in which case the player wins in one shot. See also on the snap.
goose neck
Also goose-neck rest.Same as swan.
grapefruit
Colloquial term for an unusually large, heavy cue ball made of the same phenolic resin or other modern, resilient plastic as the object balls. "Grapefruit" cue balls are frequently found on older coin-operated bar tables that do not have magnetic ball-return mechanisms. As with excessively dense, ceramic "rock" cue balls, the ball return works because the cue ball is considerably heavier than, and thereby distinguishable from, the object balls. Unlike "rocks", grapefruit balls are not prone to excessive equipment wear and tear. But because of their unusually large size, they have a very strong effect on the tangent line and thus on the accuracy of cut shots. Their weight also has a notable effect on play, as they are somewhat more difficult to draw (screw), stop and stun compared to standard and magnetic cue balls, but not to the extent of the much less resilient rock balls. Like rocks, grapefruits do generate a large amount of smash-through.
green
1.  Nearly table-length distance between the cue ball and target object ball, or between an object ball and target pocket, i.e. a potentially difficult shot due to distance ("you sure left me a lot of green on that one")
2.  The cloth covering the table ("oh no, you just ripped the green")
3.  The green ball ("that was a great shot on the green")
4.  Money ("I won a lot of green last night from that wannabe hustler")
green ball
Also the green. In snooker, the colour ball that is worth three points, being the second-least valuable colour behind the yellow. [11] :116 It is one of the baulk colours, and is placed on the green spot. [11] :116 [12] :10 In some (especially American) snooker ball sets it is numbered "3" on its surface.
green spot
The spot (usually not specially marked because it is obvious) on a snooker table at which the green ball is placed. Regardless of table size, it is the intersection of the "D" and the balk line on the breaker's left side. [11] :116 [12] :10 The left-to-right order of the green, brown and yellow balls is the subject of the mnemonic phrase "God bless you". [11] :115
green pocket
In snooker, the corner pocket that is closest to the green spot.
grip
1.  The way in which a player holds the butt end of the cue stick. [5]
2.  The wrap of the cuestick where the hand is placed, also known as the "grip area." [5]
group
Same as suit , predominantly in British terminology, i.e., in eight-ball either of the set of seven balls (reds or yellows) that must be cleared before potting the black. Generally used in the generic, especially in rulesets or articles, rather than colloquially by players. [7]
gully table
1.  A table with a ball return system, as opposed to a drop pocket table. [5] :39
2.  Also gutter table.Same as bar table.

H

half-ball hit
Half-ball striking Billiards half-ball striking diagram.png
Half-ball striking
A shot aimed so that the center of the cue ball is in line with the edge of the object ball, eclipsing half of the ball. "Hit it just a little thinner than half-ball." Assuming a cling does not occur, the shot will impart post-contact momentum on the object ball in a direction 30° (which is , where is the fraction of object ball eclipsed: 12 in this case) off the direction of the cue-ball's pre-contact momentum. Also notable because the carom angle the cue ball takes is more consistent than at other contact points.
half-century
In snooker and other British usages, a break of 50–99 points (100 points or more being called a century), which involves potting at least 12 consecutive balls (i.e. the last 3 reds with at least 2 blacks and a pink, followed by all the colours).
hail Mary
Chiefly American; same as hit and hope. A term borrowed from a similar idea in American football.
hand chalk
A misnomer for hand talc.
handicapping
Modification of the rules and/or scoring of a game to enable players of variable abilities to compete on a more even playing field. [5] Examples of handicapping include spotting balls and giving games on the wire to an opponent. In league play, common forms of handicapping include awarding compensating points to a lesser-skilled team, or using numerical player ranking systems to adjust final scores between opponents of different skill levels. A player's handicap is such a numerical rank. See Handicapping main article for more general information on sports handicapping.
hang
Said of a ball, to come to rest partially over the edge of a pocket's fall but still resting on the table bed. [11] :121 Because of ball curvature, if the very bottom of the ball is not over the sharp rim or beveled slope (depending on table type) of the pocket's fall, the ball will not drop into the pocket. As much as approximately 49% of a ball's diameter can be hanging over the sharp drop of a standard snooker table fall, but considerably less on a typical pool table, with beveled falls. A ball hanging in the pocket – a "hanger" – is nearly unmissable [11] :121 (though fouling by scratching the cue ball into the pocket right after the object ball is a common mistake. Can be used in a transitive sense in reference to player action: "You hung that one right on the edge".
hanger
1.  An easily shot object ball that is "hanging" in the pocket. [11] :121
2.  By extension, any extremely easy shot, even in carom billiards which has no pockets. [11] :121
have the nuts
Be in a game where either because of disparity in skill level, or because of a handicap given, it would be very difficult to lose.
having the cue ball on a string
Used when describing perfect cue ball position play. [46] [47]
hazard
1.  Literally, a pocket, but generally used in the phrases losing hazardpotting (pocketing) the cue ball off another ball – and winning hazard – using the cue ball to pot another ball – the two types of legal shots that pocket balls in games in which the term is used at all, which is very few today. The term principally survives in English billiards, in which both types of shots are point-scoring. Formerly, a large number of different games made use of the two types of hazards as point scorers or losers in various ways (thus their suggestive names). The term ultimately derives from holes or pockets in the table to be avoided, in very early forms of billiards. [11] :121, 148, 275 While the terms are disused in pocket billiards today, their lingering effect is obvious, as the vast bulk of such games focus on making winning hazards and avoiding losing hazards (a notable exception being Russian pyramid in which both are legal shots).
2.  In golf billiards, an area of the table (sometimes marked) that a player will be penalized for entering if their ball does not leave. Derives from the use of the term in the outdoor game of golf. [11] :120
Chiefly American: The half of the table from which the break shot is taken. This usage is conceptually opposite that in British English, where this end of the table is called the bottom. Contrast foot.See also kitchen.
head cushion
Chiefly American: The cushion on the head rail. Compare bottom cushion; contrast foot cushion.
head rail
Chiefly American: The short rail at the head of the table. Traditionally this is the rail on which the table manufacturer's logo appears. Compare bottom rail, baulk rail; contrast foot rail, top rail.
head spot
The intersection of the head string and long string, which is usually not marked on a table with a spot decal or other mark, unlike the foot spot, though some pool halls mark both spots so that racking can be done at either end of the table, and wear on the cloth from racking and breaking is more evenly distributed. [5] Compare baulk spot.
head string
A line, sometimes imaginary (especially in American pool), sometimes drawn on the cloth, that runs horizontally across the table from the second diamond (from the head rail) on one long rail to the corresponding second diamond on the other long rail. [5] In most pool games, the opening break shot must be performed with the center (base) of the cue ball behind the head string (i.e. between the head string and head rail). The head string intersects the long string at the head spot, and delimits the kitchen (and, in European nine-ball, the outer boundary of the break box). The head string's position is always determined by the diamonds, in contrast to the similar but different baulk line, the position of which is determined by measurement from the bottom cushion (head cushion).
heads up
Same as straight up.
heart
The strength of a player's will to win; the ability to overcome pressure; "he showed a lot of heart in making that comeback."
high
1.  Also highs, high balls, high ones. In eight-ball and related games, to be shooting the striped suit (group) of balls (9 through 15); "you're high balls" or "I've got the highs" ("you're high" is rare, because of the "intoxication" ambiguity). Compare stripes, yellows, big ones, overs; contrast low.
2.  With follow, as in "I shot that high left", meaning "I shot that with follow and with left english". Derives from the fact that one must aim above the cue ball's equator, i.e. "high" on the ball, to impart follow. "With" is optional (e.g. "I shot that with high left" or "I shot that high left"). Contrast low.
3.  In snooker, same as "above", as in "she'll want to finish high on the black to allow position on the red".
4.  With run (UK: break), a lengthy series of successful shots; see high run, high break .
high break
UK: Essentially the same as high run, but applied to snooker and by extension to pool, especially blackball and British eight-ball pool: A break (series of successful pots) running into large numbers for that player's skill level.
high run

Also (rarely) high-run, hi-run, highrun, etc.

A series of successful shots (a run) that is lengthy for the player's skill level. The exact implication is dependent upon context, e.g. "my high run at three-cushion is 15", "Jones had the highest run of the tournament", "that was a pretty high run you just did", etc. Used congratulatorily, it may be phrased "good run", "great run", "nice run", etc. See also high break.
hill
See on the hill, hill-hill.
hill-hill
The point in match play where both players (or teams) need only one more game (frame) victory to win the match or race. [48] [49] See also on the hill, rubber match.
hit and hope
A shot in which the player is relying on luck for a favorable outcome, because no better shot exists. Compare hail Mary, and smash and pray.
ho
Also ho ball(s). An exhortatory cry to a ball or balls to slow down or come to a stop, often made when overshooting position with the cue ball. [50]
hold the spot
In snooker, to leave the cue ball ball on the spot of a colour ball after potting it. This is usually performed where re-spotting of the colour ball would cause positional problems for the player, such as blocking available pots on one or more red balls.
hook
1.  Same as snooker (verb) [13]
2.  Same as hook rest.
hook rest
Also the hook. In snooker, a type of mechanical bridge that has only recently been endorsed by the WPBSA to allow its use in major tournament play. It is a normal rest with the head in line with the shaft, but the last foot or so of the shaft is curved. This allows players to position the curved end around an obstructing ball that would have otherwise left them hampered on the cue ball and in need of a spider or swan with extensions, which would have less control.
horn
Same as knuckle. By analogy to animal horns, not the musical instruments.
house
1.  The venue in which the game is being played, e.g. a snooker hall, pool bar, etc.
2.  The kitchen or baulk area of a Russian billiards table; from Russian: дома, romanized: doma, lit.  'house'.
house cue
Usually a one-piece cue freely available for use by patrons in bars/pubs and pool halls.
house man
A pool room employee who plays with a good degree of skill.
house rack
A pejorative term for an improper rack in which the balls are not properly in contact with their neighbors, often resulting in a poor spread on the break.
house rules
The rules played in a particular venue not necessarily in comportment with official rules, or with common local bar pool custom.
hug the rail
Describes a ball rolling along a rail in contact or near contact with it, or which makes multiple successive contacts with the rail. [1] [4] :240See velcro.
hustle
To play for money and lull a victim into thinking they can win, prompting them to accept higher and higher stakes, until beating them and walking off with more money than they would have been willing to bet had they been beaten soundly in the beginning. The terms hustler, for one who hustles, and hustling, describing the act, are just as common if not more so than this verb form. See also sandbag, on the lemonade, lemonade stroke, shark, dump.

I

illegal
As in many other sports, "illegal" means causing or likely to cause a foul (the opposite being legal). (See legal for specific examples of usage.)
in-hand
1.  Shortening of ball-in-hand.
2.  In snooker, the ability to place the cue ball anywhere inside the boundaries of the D. This occurs at the start of a frame, and after the cue ball has been potted or forced off the table.
inning
A player's (or doubles team's) turn at the table, usually ending with a failure to score a point or to pocket a ball, depending on the game, a foul, a safety or with a win. [5] In some games, such as five-pins and killer, a player's inning is always limited to one shot, regardless of the intent and result of the shot. Usually synonymous with visit, except in scotch doubles format. The term is sometimes used to mean both players'/teams' visits combined, e.g. when referring to which inning in which a memorable shot occurred.
in-off
(Chiefly British.) In snooker and blackball/eight-ball pool, an instance where the cue ball has been potted (pocketed) after contacting an object ball. It is a fault (foul) in most games. [5] There is no equivalent (current) American term for this specific means of pocketing the white ball. Compare losing hazard, scratch.
in-or-over shot
(Chiefly British.) In a snookers required situation in snooker, a shot played by the player defending the lead, where he plays the object ball in such a way as to try to slowly pot (pocket) it, so that if it misses, at least it is over the pocket and difficult to obtain the required snooker from.
inside english
(Chiefly U.S.) Side spin (english) placed on a same side of the cue ball as the direction in which the object ball is being cut (left-hand english when cutting a ball to the left, and vice versa). [1] In addition to affecting cue ball position, inside english can increase throw.
in sight
(Chiefly British) Said of an object ball that can easily be reached by the cue ball, or of a pocket that can easily be reached by a selected object ball, usually directly (i.e. without intervening kick, bank, carom, kiss or combination shots). Compare see.
in stroke
Cueing and timing the balls well; in good form, where pocketing (potting), safety and clarity of thinking seem to come easily. [4] :241 A player who had not been doing well but then suddenly picks up (as happens during the course of many matches) may be said to catch a stroke.[ clarification needed ]See also stroke.
insurance ball
A ball that is easily made from many positions on the table but which is left untouched while the rack is played, so that in the event the player gets out of position, the shooter has an insurance shot. Typically an insurance ball will be in or near the jaws of a pocket.
in the balls
In snooker, a phrase used to describe a situation where the player has an easy pot and in general the balls are in a position to go on to make a sizeable break. Compare set up (sense 4).
in the money
In a tournament, to place high enough to receive a payout. E.g., in a tournament that pays from 1st down to 5th places, to be at least 5th place is to be in the money. [6]
in turn
When a particular ball is given as a handicap in nine-ball, designating that ball in turn means that it must be made in rotation, when it is the lowest numerical ball remaining on the table, and cannot be made to garner a win earlier in the game by way of a combination, carom or any other shot. For example, if a player is spotted the 8 ball, he only wins by making that ball after balls 1 through 7 have been cleared from the table. The phrase is not common in the U.S.
Irish linen
Linen made from flax and produced in Ireland which is often used to wrap the gripping area of the butt of a cue.

J

jack up
1.  To elevate the back of the cue on a shot.
2.  In gambling, to "jack up a bet" means to increase the stakes.
jail
When a player is on the receiving end of a devastating safety where it is very difficult or near impossible to make a legal hit on an object ball. [51]
jam up
Adjectival expression for a player's deadly game; "watch out, he plays jam up." [49] [52]
jawed ball
A ball that fails to drop into a pocket after bouncing back and forth between the jaws of a pocket. [5]
jaws
The inside walls of a pocket, [5] from the facings to the drop hole.
jenny
Chiefly Australian:Same as a force follow shot.
jigger
Same as cross.
joint
The interlocking connection between the butt and shaft ends of a two-piece cue stick. [5] Usually connects via means of a steel or wooden pin, and may be protected by a collar of metal or some other material, or may connect wood-on-wood. [30]
joint protectors
Plugs that screw into the joint when a two-piece cue is broken down to keep foreign objects and moisture from contacting the joint mechanism.
A jump shot performed by Ronnie O'Sullivan. Ronnie O'Sullivan at German Masters Snooker Final (DerHexer) 2012-02-05 09.jpg
A jump shot performed by Ronnie O’Sullivan.
jump
Also jump shot. Any shot where the cue ball is intentionally jumped into the air to clear an obstacle [5] (usually an object ball, even in games with non-ball objects, e.g. bottle pool). Jump shots must be performed by hitting the cue ball into the table's surface so that it rebounds from the cloth. Scooping under the cue ball to fling it into the air is deemed a foul by all authoritative rules sources, as the cue ball is technically struck twice, once by the tip, once by the ferrule.[ citation needed ] A legal jump shot works by compressing the cue ball slightly against the slate under the cloth, causing it to spring upward when the downward pressure of the cue is released.[ citation needed ] Naturally, non-standard "rock" cue balls (made of ceramic, much denser than the more typical phenolic resin and other plastics used for billiard balls) are not well-suited to jump shots. Some billiard halls and even entire leagues prohibit all jump (and usually also massé) shots, out of fears of damage to the equipment, especially the cloth. Specialized jump cues exist to better facilitate jump shots; they are usually shorter and lighter, and with harder tips, than normal cues. Jump shots that go through or into objects rather than over them are common in trick shot (artistic pool and artistic billiards) competition.
jump cue
Also jump stick. [6] A cue dedicated to jumping balls; usually shorter and lighter than a playing cue and having a wider, harder tip.
jump draw
A rare and very difficult trick jump shot that turns into a draw shot upon landing. Requires precise application of spin in addition to the precise application of ball pressure to effectuate the jump. Jump draws are fairly often seen in professional trick shot competition.
jump massé
A rare and extremely difficult trick jump shot that turns into a massé upon landing. Requires very precise application of spin in addition to the precise application of ball pressure to effectuate the jump. Turn-of-the-20th-century World Balkline Champion Jacob Schaefer Sr. was known to daringly perform jump massés in competition. [19]

K

key ball
The object ball involved in a key shot. [6]
key shot
1.  A shot or ball that allows a player to obtain shape on another ball hard to play position to. [6]
2.  A shot or ball that is the "key" to running out.
3.  The 14th object ball in a rack of straight pool that, when proper position is achieved on, allows easy position play, in turn, on the last (15th) object ball for an intergame break shot.
kick
1.  Short for kick shot. Also used as a verb, "to kick [at]" (US).
2.  Same as cling (US) and skid (British). Noun, verb and rare adjective usage as per "cling".
kick shot
A shot in which the cue ball is driven to one or more rails (