Vocabulary, Slang and Definitions

25 Random Essential Billiards Terms

This is your pocket for sinking balls in a one pocket game.
This term is used to refer to a player missing a shot.
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."
This refers to the cluster of balls remaining in a similar position to where they were within the break.
The World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA) is the international governing body for pocket billiards (and also sactions rules and events for carom billiards games as well, in cooperation with other bodies). The group was formed in 1987, and was initially headed by a provisional board of directors consisting of representatives from the United States, Japan, Sweden, and Germany.
This is the portion of the joint that actually connects the two sides of the cue, often called the pin or male end. This comes in a number of different sizes and shapes which some believe has an influence on the hit of the cue stick.
The ornamentation on a cue, between the wrap and the joint, is often made by inlaying exotic materials into the wood so the inlays form points. The value of a cue is often based on the number points.
(noun) An opening in a table, cut partly into the bed and partly into the rails and their cushions, into which balls are shot (pocketed or potted).
(verb) Send a ball into a pocket, usually intentionally.
The profile of the shaft of the cue as it as it increases in diameter from the tip to the joint. A "fast" or "slow" taper refers to how quickly the diameter increases. A "pro" taper describes a shaft that tapers rapidly from the joint size to the tip size so as to provide a long, untapered stroking area.
A tournament format in which a player must lose two matches in order to be eliminated.
Side spin on the cue ball that causes it to roll off a cushion (contacted at an angle) with rather than against the ball's natural momentum and direction of travel. If angling into a rail that is on the right, then running english would be left english, and vice versa. The angle of deflection will be wider than if no english were applied to the cue ball. But more importantly, because the ball is rolling instead of sliding against the rail, the angle will be more consistent. For this reason, running English is routinely used. Also called running side in British terminology. Contrast reverse english.
This is to win a game by pocketing enough balls before you opponent.
The act of playing a devastating safety which leaves the opponent in a situation where it is very difficult or near impossible to make a legal hit on an object ball
A point bead on a scoring string.
The desired angle that must be created between the path of the cue ball and the path of the object ball upon contact to pot the object ball. It is usually measured to the center of the pocket. See also aiming line.
This is the International Billiards and Snooker Federation. This organization governs non-professional snooker and billiards play all over the world.
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.
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.
The ease with which a player is generating cue power, due to well-timed acceleration of the cue at the appropriate point in a shot.
This is the white ball in carom games which is separated from the clear ball by a marking (usually a dot or spot).
Accidentally causing the cue ball or any object ball to leave the table. It is normally a foul.
Also nurse shot, nursery shot. In carom games such as straight rail, balkline and cushion caroms, where all the balls are kept near each other and a cushion, and with very soft shots, can be "nursed" down a rail on multiple successful shots that effectively replicate the same ball setup so that the nurse shot can be repeated again (and again, etc.). Excessive use of nurse shots by players skilled enough to set them up and pull them off repeatedly at will is what led to the development of the balkline carom billiards game variations, and repetitive shot limitation rules in English billiards. A clear example of why: In 1907, Tom Reece scored a record break of 499,135 consecutive points over a period of five weeks, without a miss, using the cradle cannon nurse shot.
British term referring to the base or metaphorical "feet" of a ball that rattles in the jaws of a pocket before eventually dropping. Usually said of an object ball for which the intention was to pot it.
Skilled playing in which knowledge of ball speed, angles, post-impact trajectory, and other factors are used to gain position (i.e. a good leave) after the target ball is struck. The goals of position play are generally to ensure that the next shot is easy or at least makeable, and/or to play a safety in the advent of a miss (intentional or otherwise).
Australian: Defeated with all seven of one's object balls (in blackball or eight-ball) remaining on the table.
This word is used as slang to define a player as amateur or recreational.