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ANGLED. (Snooker, pocket
games) When the corner of a pocket prevents a player shooting
the cue ball directly at an object ball. (See
ANGLE SHOT. (Pocket games) A
shot that requires the cue ball to drive the object ball
other than straight ahead. (See cut shot)
APEX OF TRIANGLE. (Pocket
games) The position in the grouping of object balls that is
on the foot spot; the front ball position of the pyramid
AROUND THE TABLE. (Carom
games) Describes shots in which the cue ball contacts three
or more cushions, usually including the two short cushions,
in an effort to score.
BALANCE POINT. (General) The
point on a cue at which it would remain level if held by a
single support, usually about 18" from the butt end of the
BALL IN HAND. (Pocket games)
See cue ball in hand.
BALL ON. (Snooker) A colored
(non-red) ball a player intends to legally pocket; same as
BANK SHOT. (Pocket games) A
shot in which the object ball is driven to one or more
cushions before it is pocketed; incidental contact as a ball
moves along and adjacent to a cushion does not qualify as a cushion or bank. It is not an obvious shot and must be called
in games requiring called shots. (See kick shot)
(Snooker) The intervening space between the bottom cushion
and the Baulk-line.
BAULK-LINE. (Snooker) A
straight line drawn 29" from the face of the bottom cushion
and parallel to it.
BED OF TABLE. (General) The
flat, cloth-covered surface of the table within the cushions;
the playing area exclusive of the cushions.
BILLIARD. (Carom games) A
count or score; a successful shot.
BLIND DRAW. (General) A
method used to determine pairings or bracketing of players in
tournaments that assures totally random placement or pairing
BOTTLE. (Pocket games) A
specially shaped leather or plastic container used in various
games. (Also called the shake bottle)
BOTTOM CUSHION. (Snooker) The
cushion located at the head of a snooker table--closest to
BREAK. (Pocket games) See
open break and opening break shot.
BREAK. (Snooker) Total scored
in one inning.
BREAKING VIOLATION. (Pocket
games) A violation of special rules which apply only to the opening break shot of certain games. Unless specified
in individual game rules, a breaking violation is not a foul.
BRIDGE. (General) The hand
configuration that holds and guides the shaft-end of the cue
during play. (See mechanical bridge)
BURST. (Forty-One Pocket
Billiards) Scoring a total of more than 41 points.
BUTT OF CUE. (General) The
larger end of a cue, opposite the tip. On a two-piece cue,
the butt extends up to the joint.
CALL SHOT. (Pocket games)
Requirement that a player designate, in advance of each shot,
the ball to be made and the pocket into which it will be
made. In calling the shot, it is NEVER necessary to indicate
details such as the number of cushions, banks, kisses,
caroms, etc. The rules of "Bank Pool" are an exception.
CALLED BALL. (Pocket games)
The ball the player has designated to be pocketed on a shot.
CALLED POCKET. (Pocket games)
The pocket which a player has designated a ball to be shot.
CAROM. (General) To bounce
off or glance off an object ball or cushion; a shot in which
the cue ball bounces off one ball into another is termed a
CAROM, SCORING. (General)
Contact by the cue ball with object balls, the bottle or
cushions in such a way that a legal score is made, according
to specific game rules.
CENTER SPOT. (General) The
exact center point of a table's playing surface.
CHALK. (General) A dry,
slightly abrasive substance that is applied to the cue tip to
help assure a non-slip contact between the cue tip and the
CHUCK NURSE. (Straight Rail
Billiards) A scoring technique used when one object ball
rests against the cushion and the second object ball is to
one side of the first ball and away from the cushion. Cue
ball strikes the object ball at the cushion so that the cue
ball just comes back to touch (carom) the second object ball
without moving it out of position for a similar subsequent
CLEAN BANK. (Bank Pocket
Billiards) A shot in which the object ball being played does
not touch any other object balls (i.e., no kisses, no
CLEAR BALL. (Carom games) The
all-white ball, devoid of any markings, used in carom games. (See spot ball)
COMBINATION. (Pocket games)
Shot in which the cue ball first strikes a ball other than
the one to be pocketed, with the ball initially contacted in
turn striking one or more other balls in an effort to score.
COMBINATION ON. (Pocket
games) Two or more balls positioned in such a way that a ball
can be driven into a called pocket with a combination shot;
often called a "dead combo" or an "on combo."
COMBINATION ON. (Snooker) See plant.
CONTACT POINT. (General) The
precise point of contact between the cue ball and the object
ball when the cue ball strikes the object ball.
CORNER-HOOKED. (Pocket games,
Snooker) When the corner of a pocket prevents shooting the
cue ball in a straight path directly to an object ball, the
cue ball is corner-hooked; same as angled.
COUNT. (General) A score; a
running score at any point during a player's inning in games
where numerous points are scored successively.
CROSS CORNER. (Pocket games)
Term used to describe a bank shot that will rebound
from a cushion and into a corner pocket.
CROSS SIDE. (Pocket games)
Term used to describe a bank shot that will rebound
from a cushion and into a side pocket.
CROSS TABLE SHOT. (Carom
games) Shot in which scoring is accomplished by driving the
cue ball across the table between the long cushion.
CROTCH. (Carom games) The
corner area of a carom table in straight-rail billiards in
which a player may score no more than three successive counts
with the balls before driving at least one object ball out of
the area. The four crotches are defined as those spaces
within crotch lines drawn between first diamond on the end
rail to the second diamond on the side rail.
CRUTCH. (General) Slang term
for the mechanical bridge.
CUE. (General) Tapered
device, usually wooden, used to strike the cue ball to
execute carom or pocket billiard shots. (Also called cue
CUE BALL. (General) The
white, unnumbered ball that is always struck by the cue
CUE BALL IN HAND. (Pocket
games) Cue ball may be put into play anywhere on the playing
CUE BALL IN HAND BEHIND THE HEAD
STRING. (Pocket games) Cue ball may be put into play
anywhere between the head string and the cushion on the head
end of the table not in contact with an object ball.
CUE BALL IN HAND WITHIN THE D.
(Snooker) See cue ball in hand within the half-circle.
CUE BALL IN HAND WITHIN THE
HALF-CIRCLE. (Snooker) The cue ball is in hand within the
half-circle when it has entered a pocket or has been forced
off the table. The base of the cue ball may be placed
anywhere within or on the half-circle. It remains in hand
until the player strikes the cue ball with the tip of the cue
or a foul is committed while the ball is on the table.
CUE TIP. (General) A piece of
specially processed leather or other fibrous or pliable
material attached to the shaft end of the cue that contacts
the cue ball when a shot is executed.
CUSHION. (General) The
cloth-covered rubber which borders the inside of the rails on
carom and pocket billiard tables; together the cushions form
the outer perimeter of the basic playing surface.
CUT SHOT. (Pocket games) A
shot in which the cue ball contacts the object ball to one
side or the other of full center, thus driving it in a
direction other than that of the initial cue ball path.
D. (Snooker) An area,
semi-circular in shape, with the straight side formed by the
line drawn between the spot for the yellow and the spot for
the green measured 29 inches out from the face of the bottom
cushion (sometimes referred to as the baulk line) and the
semi-circle is determined by the size of the table being
DEAD BALL. (Pocket games) A
cue ball stroked in such a manner that virtually all of the
speed and/or spin of the cue ball is transferred to the
object ball, the cue ball retaining very little or none after
DEAD BALL SHOT. (Pocket
games) A shot in which a dead ball stroke is employed; often
called a kill shot, because of the relative lack of
cue ball motion after contact with the object ball.
DEAD COMBINATION. (Pocket
games) See combination on.
DIAMONDS. (General) Inlays or
markings on the table rails that are used as reference or
target points. The diamonds are essential for the utilization
of numerous mathematical systems employed by carom and pocket
DRAW SHOT. (General) A shot
in which the cue ball is struck below center, and the
resulting back spin causes the cue ball to return towards the
player after full contact with an object ball.
DROP POCKETS. (Pocket games)
Type of pockets with no automatic return of the balls to the
foot end of the table; balls must be removed manually.
DOUBLE ELIMINATION. (General)
A tournament format in which a player is not eliminated until
he has sustained two match losses.
DOUBLE HIT. (General) A shot
on which the cue ball is struck twice by the cue tip on the
DOUBLE ROUND ROBIN. (General)
A tournament format in which each contestant in a field plays each of the other players twice.
ENGLISH. (General) Side spin
applied to the cue ball by striking it off center; used to
alter the natural roll of the cue ball and/or the object
FEATHER SHOT. (General) A
shot in which the cue ball barely touches or grazes the
object ball; an extremely thin cut.
FERRULE. (General) A piece of
protective material (usually plastic, horn or metal) at the
end of the cue shaft, onto which the cue tip is attached.
FOLLOW SHOT. (General) A shot
in which the cue ball is struck above center and the
spin causes the cue ball to roll forward
after contact with an object ball.
FOLLOW-THROUGH. (General) The
movement of the cue after contact with the cue ball through
the area previously occupied by the cue ball.
FOOT OF TABLE. (General) The
end of a carom or pocket billiard table at which the balls
are racked or positioned at the start of a game.
FOOT SPOT. (General) The
point on the foot end of the table where imaginary lines
drawn between the center diamonds of the short rails and the
second diamonds of the long rails intersect.
FOOT STRING. (General) A line
on the foot end of the table between the second diamonds of
the long rails, passing through the foot spot. The foot
string is never drawn on the table, and has no use in play.
FORCE. (General) The power
applied on the stroke to the cue ball, which may result in
distortion and altering of natural angles and action of the
FORCE DRAW. (General) A shot
with extreme follow, usually directly at and then "through"
an object ball.
FORCE FOLLOW. (General) A
follow shot with extreme overspin applied to the cue ball,
with the term generally used in reference to shots in which
the cue ball is shot directly at and then "through" an object
ball, with a pronounced hesitation or stop before the overspin propels the cue ball forward in the general
direction of the stroke.
FOUL. (General) An infraction
of the rules of play, as defined in either the general or the
specific game rules. (Not all rule infractions are fouls.)
Fouls result in a penalty, also dependent on specific game
FOUL STROKE. (General) A
stroke on which a foul takes place.
FRAME. (Snooker) The
equivalent of one game in snooker.
FREE BALL. (Snooker) After a
foul, if the cue ball is snookered, the referee shall state
"Free Ball." If the non-offending player takes the next
stroke he may nominate any ball as on, and for this stroke,
such ball shall be regarded as, and acquire the value of, the
FREE BREAK. (Pocket games) An
opening break shot in which a wide spread of the object balls
may be achieved without penalty or risk. Free breaks are
detailed in individual games rules.
FROZEN. (General) A ball
touching another ball or cushion.
FULL BALL. (General) Contact
of the cue ball with an object ball at a contact point on a
line bisecting the centers of the cue ball and object ball.
GAME. The course of play that
starts when the referee has finished racking the balls, and
ends at the conclusion of a legal shot which pockets the last
required ball. In 14.1 continuous, a game lasts several
GAME BALL. (General) The ball
which, if pocketed legally, would produce victory in a game.
GATHER SHOT. (Carom games) A
shot on which appropriate technique and speed are employed to drive one or more balls away from the
other's) in such a
manner that when the stroke is complete, the balls have come
back together closely enough to present a comparatively easy
scoring opportunity for the next shot.
GRIP. (General) The manner in
which the butt of the cue is held in the hand.
GULLY TABLE. (Pocket games) A
table with pockets and a return system that delivers the
balls as they are pocketed to a collection bin on the foot
end of the table.
Modifications in the scoring and/or rules of games to enable players of differing abilities to compete on more even terms.
HEAD OF TABLE. (General) The
end of a carom or pocket billiard table from which the opening break is performed; the end normally marked with the
HEAD SPOT. (General) The
point on the head of the table where imaginary lines drawn between the center diamonds of the short rails and the second
diamonds of the long rails intersect.
HEAD STRING. (General) A line
on the head end of the table between the second diamonds of
the long rails, passing through the head spot.
HICKEY. (Snooker Golf) Any
HIGH RUN. (14.1 Continuous)
During a specified segment of play, the greatest number of
balls scored in one turn (inning) at the table.
HOLD. (General) English
which stops the cue ball from continuing the course of
natural roll it would take after having been driven in a
INNING. (General) A turn at
the table by a player, and which may last for several racks
in some pocket games.
IN HAND. (Pocket games) See
cue ball in hand.
IN HAND BEHIND THE HEAD STRING.
(Pocket games) See cue ball in hand behind the head
IN-OFF. (Snooker) A losing
hazard; that is, when the cue ball enters a pocket. The
snooker equivalent of a scratch.
IN THE RACK. (14.1
Continuous) A ball that would interfere with the reracking of
the object balls in 14.1 Continuous that extend past one
JAW. (Pocket games) The
slanted part of the cushion that is cut at an angle to form
the opening from the bed of the table into the pocket.
JAWED BALL. (Pocket games)
Generally refers to a ball that fails to drop because it
bounces back and forth against the jaws of a pocket.
JOINT. (General) On two-piece
cues, the screw-and-thread device, approximately midway in
the cue, that permits it to be broken down into two separate
JUMP SHOT. (General) A shot
in which the cue ball or object ball is caused to rise off
the bed of the table.
JUMPED BALL. (General) A ball
that has left and remained off the playing surface as the
result of a stroke; a ball that is stroked in a manner which
causes it to jump over another ball.
KEY BALL. (14.1 Continuous)
The 14th ball of each rack; called the key ball because it is
so critical in obtaining position for the all important first
(or break) shot of each reracking of the balls.
KICK SHOT. (General) A shot
in which the cue ball banks off a cushion(s) prior to making
contact with an object ball or scoring.
KILL SHOT. (Pocket games) See
dead ball shot.
KISS. (General) Contact
between balls. (See kiss shot)
KISS SHOT. (Pocket games) A
shot in which more than one contact with object balls is made
by the cue ball; for example, the cue ball might kiss from
one object ball into another to score the latter ball. Shots
in which object balls carom off one or more other object
balls to be pocketed. (Also called carom shots)
Accidental contact between balls that causes a shot to fail.
KITCHEN. (Pocket games) A
slang term used to describe the area of the table between the
head string and the cushion on the head end of the table.
(Also called the area above the head string)
LAG. (Carom games) A shot in
which the cue ball is shot three or more cushions before
contacting the object balls.
LAG FOR BREAK. (General)
Procedure used to determine starting player of game. Each
player shoots a ball from behind the head string to the foot
cushion, attempting to return the ball as closely as possible
to the head cushion.
LEAVE. (Pocket games) The
position of the balls after a player's shot.
LONG. (General) Usually
refers to a ball which, due to english and speed, travels a
path with wider angles than those that are standard for such
a ball if struck with natural english and moderate
LONG STRING. (Pocket games) A
line drawn from the center of the foot cushion to the foot
spot (and beyond if necessary) on which balls are spotted.
LOSING HAZARD. (Snooker)
Occurs when the cue ball is pocketed after contact with an
LOT. (General) Procedures
used, not involving billiard skills, to determine starting
player or order of play. Common methods used are flipping
coins, drawing straws, drawing cards, or drawing peas or
MASSE SHOT. (General) A shot
in which extreme english is applied to the cue ball by
elevating the cue butt at an angle with the bed of the table
of anywhere between 30 and 90 degrees. The cue ball usually takes a curved path, with more curve resulting from
increasing cue stick elevation.
MATCH. The course of play
that starts when the players are ready to lag and ends when
the deciding game ends.
MECHANICAL BRIDGE. (General)
A grooved device mounted on a handle providing support for
the shaft of the cue during shots difficult to reach with
normal bridge hand. Also called a crutch or rake.
MISCUE. (General) A stroke
which results in the cue tip contact with cue ball being
faulty. Usually the cue tip slides off the cue ball without
full transmission of the desired stroke. The stroke usually
results in a sharp sound and discoloration of the tip and/or
the cue ball at the point of contact.
MISS. (General Failure to
execute a completed shot.
MISS. (Snooker) The call the
referee makes in snooker if it is judged the player has not
endeavored to the best of his ability to hit the ball on.
NATURAL. (Carom games) A shot
with only natural angle and stroke required for successful
execution; a simple or easily visualized, and accomplished,
NATURAL ENGLISH. (General)
Moderate sidespin applied to the cue ball that favors the
direction of the cue ball path, giving the cue ball a natural
roll and a bit more speed than a center hit.
NATURAL ROLL. (General)
Movement of the cue ball with english applied.
NIP DRAW. (General) A short,
sharp stroke, employed when a normal draw stroke would
result in a foul due to drawing the cue ball back into the
NURSES. (Carom games)
Techniques whereby the balls are kept close to the cushions
and each other, creating a succession of relatively easy
OBJECT BALLS. (General) The
balls other than the cue ball on a shot.
OBJECT BALL, THE. (Pocket
games) The particular object ball being played on a shot.
ON BALL. (Snooker) See
OPEN BREAK. (Pocket games)
The requirement in certain games that a player must drive a
minimum of four object balls out of the rack to the
cushions in order for the shot to be legal.
OPENING BREAK SHOT. (General)
The first shot of a game.
PEAS. (Pocket games) Small
plastic or wooden balls numbered 1 through 15 or 16, use
defined in specific games rules. (Called pills.)
PILLS. (Pocket games) See
PLANT. (Snooker) A position
of two or more red balls that allows a ball to be driven into a pocket with a combination shot.
POSITION. (General) The
placement of the cue ball on each shot relative to the next
planned shot. Also called shape.
POT. (Snooker) The pocketing
of an object ball.
POWDER. (General) Talc or
other fine, powdery substance used to facilitate free, easy
movement of the cue shaft through the bridge.
POWER DRAW SHOT. (General)
Extreme draw applied to the cue ball. (See force
PUSH SHOT. (General) A shot
in which the cue tip maintains contact with the cue ball
beyond the split second allowed for a normal and legally
PYRAMID. (Pocket games)
Positioning of the object balls in a triangular grouping
(with the front apex ball on the foot spot), used to begin
many pocket billiard games.
PYRAMID SPOT. (Snooker) The
same as the pink spot. The spot is marked midway between the
center spot and the face of the top cushion.
Pre-determined number of games necessary to win a match or
set of games. For example, a match that is the best 11 out of
21 games is called a race to 11, and ends when one player has
won 11 games.
RACK. The triangular
equipment used for gathering the balls into the formation
required by the game being played.
RAILS. (General) The top
surface of the table, not covered by cloth, from which the
cushions protrude toward the playing surface. The head and
foot rails are the short rails on those ends of the table;
the right and left rails are the long rails, dictated by
standing at the head end of the table and facing the foot
RED BALL. (Carom games) The
red-colored object ball. (Also the name of a particular
3-cushion billiard game.)
REST. (Snooker) The
REVERSE ENGLISH. (General)
Sidespin applied to the cue ball, that favors the opposite
direction of the natural cue ball path - i.e. inside english.
ROUND ROBIN. (General) A
tournament format in which each contestant plays each of the
other players once.
RUNNING ENGLISH. (General)
Sidespin applied to the cue ball which causes it to rebound
from an object ball or a cushion at a narrower angle and at a
faster speed than it would if struck at the same speed and
direction without english.
RUN. (General) The total of
consecutive scores, points or counts made by a player in one
inning. The term is also used to indicate the total
number of full short-rack games won without a missed shot in
a match or tournament.
SAFETY. (General) Defensive
positioning of the balls so as to minimize the opponent's
chances to score. (The nature and rules concerning safety
play are decidedly different in specific games.) Player's
inning ends after a safety play.
SCRATCH. (Carom games) To
score a point largely by accident, due to an unanticipated
kiss, unplanned time-shot, etc.
SCRATCH. (Pocket games) The
cue ball is going into a pocket on a stroke.
Pre-determined initial pairings or advanced positioning of
players in a field of tournament competition.
SET. (General) Pre-determined
number of games necessary to win a match.
SHAFT. (General) The thinner
part of a cue, on which the cue tip is attached. On a
two-piece cue, the shaft extends from the cue tip to the
SHAKE BOTTLE. (Pocket games)
SHOT. An action that begins
at the instant the cue tip contacts the cue ball, and ends
when all balls in play stop rolling and spinning.
SHOT CLOCK. (General) Any
timing device used to gauge the time limit in which a player
is allowed to play a shot. The timing device must have at
least the functions of a stop watch: reset to zero, start, and stop. A simple wrist watch without timing functions is
SHORT. (General) Usually
refers to a ball which, due to english and stroke,
travels a path with narrower angles than those for a ball
struck without english.
SHORT-RACK. (Pocket games)
Games which utilize fewer than 15 countable object balls.
SINGLE ELIMINATION. (General)
A tournament format in which a single loss eliminates a
player from the competition.
SNAKE. (Carom games) A shot
in which the use of english causes the cue ball to
make three or more cushion contacts, though utilizing only
two different cushions. Also called a double-the-rail shot.
SNOOKERED. (Snooker) The
condition of incoming player's cue ball position when he
cannot shoot in a straight line and contact all portions of
an on ball directly facing the cue ball (because of balls not
"on" that block the path.
SPLIT DOUBLE ELIMINATION.
(General) A modification of the double elimination
tournament format, in which the field is divided into
sections, with one player emerging from each of the sections
to compete for the championship, in a single showdown match
for the championship.
SPLIT HIT. A shot in which it
cannot be determined which object ball(s) the cue ball
contacted first, due to the close proximity of the object
SPOT. (General) The thin,
circular piece of cloth or paper glued onto the cloth to
indicate the spot locality (i.e.., head spot, center spot,
foot spot); also an expression to describe a handicap.
SPOT BALL. (Carom games) The
white ball differentiated from the clear by on or more
markings; usually spots, dots or circles.
SPOT SHOT. (Pocket games)
Player shoots a ball on the foot spot with the cue ball in
hand behind the head string.
SPOTTING BALLS. (General)
Replacing balls to the table in positions as dictated by
specific game rules.
STANCE. (General The position
of the body during shooting.
STOP SHOT. (Pocket games) A
shot in which the cue ball stops immediately upon striking
the object ball.
STRIKER. (Snooker) The player
who is about to shoot and has yet to complete his inning.
STROKE. (General) The
movement of the cue as a shot is executed.
SUCCESSIVE FOULS. (Pocket
games) Fouls made on consecutive strokes by the same player,
also called consecutive fouls.
TABLE IN POSITION. (General)
Term used to indicate that the object balls remain unmoved
following a shot.
THROW SHOT. (Pocket games)
1. A shot in which english alters the path of the object
ball.2. A combination shot of frozen or near frozen object
balls in which to rubbing of the first ball across the second
ball pulls the shot away from the line joining the centers of
the two balls.
TIME SHOT. (General) A shot
in which the cue ball (most often) moves another ball into a
different position and then continues on to meet one of the
moved balls for a score.
TOP CUSHION. (Snooker) The
cushion located at the foot of a snooker table--closest to
the black spot.
TRIANGLE. (Pocket games) The
triangular device used to place the balls in position for the
start of most games.
YELLOW BALL. (Carom games) In
international competition the spot ball has been replaced by
a yellow ball without any markings.