Vocabulary, Slang and Definitions

25 Random Essential Billiards Terms

This is a shot where the cue ball contacts an object ball and moves it along a path, but because the cue ball is still in motion it re-contacts the object ball and pushes it in the pocket after it stops.
The point in match play where both players (or teams) need only one more game (frame) victory to win the match or race.
To contact the chosen object ball in such a way to make it bank off a rail before being pocketed.
Short for top spin, i.e. same as follow.
Chiefly British: 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 North America, where this end of the table is called the foot. In snooker, this is where the reds are racked, nearest the black spot; this is the area in which most of the game is usually played.
Chiefly American: Exactly the opposite of the above - the head end of the table. No longer in common usage.
Sandbagging, in any handicapped sport, is the unethical practice of deliberately playing below your ability in order to alter your handicap so it does not reflect your true ability.
This is the red colored object ball in carom games.
In snooker, any of the 15 balls worth 1 point each that can be potted in any order. During the course of a break a player must first pot a red followed by a colour, and then a red and colour, etc., until the reds run out and then the re-spotted six colours must be cleared in their order. Potting more than one red in a single shot is not a foul - the player simply gets a point for each red potted.
In blackball, one of two groups of seven object balls that must be potted before the black. Reds are spotted before yellows, if balls from both group must be spotted at the same time. Compare stripes; contrast yellow ball.
In carom billiards, the object ball that is neither player's cue ball.
The tip of your cue is the smallest but most important piece on all of the stick. Ranging between 12 mm and 14 mm depending on the taper of you shaft, the average and most common tip size is 13 mm. The tip is usually made from treated and compressed leather and is attached at the top of your cue by screw or glue to the ferrule. There are variances in cue tip resistance from soft to hard. The softer offering more chalk retention, and the harder offering more longevity and power transferred through your shot (the hardest, phenolic tips are often used on the break). Because the surface of the tip is beveled it offers you control on the spin and direction of the cue ball in your shot. To keep this control, it is important to scuff up the surface of your cue a little so as to enhance the chalk retention potential. In addition to keeping you tip chalked, you want avoid it mushrooming over the ends of the ferrule after too many impacts without refinement. To much use, and not enough care with proper tools can hinder your ability to master the control from your cue tip to your shot.
"Pocket billiards," or a game in which balls are shot into pockets.
Competition between an individual player and an individual opponent, as opposed to team play such as scotch doubles and other multi-player variants.
A team play format in which an individual player from the home team plays a race against an individual player from the visiting team, and then is finished for that match. Several large leagues use this format, including APA/CPA and USAPL.
A shot that has a 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 perhaps a lucky safety position after having missed a pot. Compare fish and slop; contrast mark (sense 3) and call. It is customary to apologise to one's opponent if one does this.
This is the act of looking over the stack, pile of balls in the middle of the table, to see if there are any opportunities in the game of one pocket.
Verb form: to shoot. The use of the cue to perform or attempt to perform a particular motion of balls on the table, such as to pocket (pot) an object ball, to achieve a successful carom (cannon), or to play a safety.
A player's turn at the table, also known as an inning.
In the game 9 Ball, making the nine ball early with a legal shot, but not on the break.
This is a tip tool for cleaning the edges of you tip after mushrooming occurs.
The white ball struck by the cue (and so used to strike other colored, numbered, object balls) during play.
This describes a shot in carom games where the cue ball is driven all the way across the long rail, crossing the table, to score a point.
This is a player that will regularly loose money to a particular player that is obviously a better player.
This is a play where the shot of the cue ball is meant to end up in a certain place to loose your turn, but makes the next attempt difficult for your opponent. The shot is turned over, but will often times lead to a foul, giving you the ball back with a different view or ball in hand. This "safety" play is important if your shot isn't ideal, and you are likely to turn the ball over anyway.
The rules played in a particular venue not necessarily in comportment with official rules, or with common local bar pool custom.
Given to the opposite player after a scratch on the cue ball has been played. This means the player with the cue ball in hand can position it wherever on the table he pleases. Sometimes there are restrictions as to where on the table the ball can be placed: in the kitchen, within the half circle, within the D. This is also known as cue ball in hand.
Chiefly American: The cushion on the head rail. Compare bottom cushion; contrast foot cushion.
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.
With draw, as in "I shot that low left", meaning "I shot that with draw and with left english". Derives from the fact that one must hit the cue ball below it's equator, i.e. "low" on the ball, to impart draw. Contrast high.
A low hit on the cue ball (but not as low as normal draw), often used to change the cue ball's angle of deflection off the object ball.