Vocabulary, Slang and Definitions

25 Random Essential Billiards Terms

Also known as Free-stroking. This is slang for when a player begins to play untroubled and relaxed because they have built up a substantial lead.
This is a shot that is meant to remove one of your opponent's balls that lies near their pocket in the game of one pocket.
The lamentable practice of not following through with the cue straight, but veering off in the direction of the shot's travel or the side english is applied, away from the proper aiming line; a common source of missed shots.
A stroking technique in which a player releases his gripping hand briefly and re-grasps the cue farther back on the butt just before hitting the cue ball.
This is a unique game played on a table with smaller pockets. The balls are racked in a typical pyramid, but after the break any ball can be the cue ball, and you can score by hitting a ball in or by putting the ball in after bouncing it from another object ball.
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.
Nine Pin (also known as Goriziana) is a carom billiards game. The game has nine pins in the center of a table. It is played by two teams of 1 or 2 players. Three balls are used of which two are cue balls. Each team (or each player) aims to hit their opponent's ball and from there score points by hitting onto the red ball and also by making the opponent's and/or the red ball knock over the pins.
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.
This is the apex ball in the triangle, racked on the foot spot in a normal game.
This is any game of pool played with money on the line. You can "put some action" on the game.
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. 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).
A form of doubles play in which the two team members take turns, playing alternating shots during an inning (i.e. each team's inning consists of two players' alternating visits, each of one shot only, until that team's inning ends, and the next team begins their alternating-shot turn.) Effective scotch doubles play requires close communication between team partners, especially as to desired cue ball position for the incoming player. Like "english", "scotch" is usually not capitalized in this context. The term is also used in bowling, and may have originated there.
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.
The ornamentation on a cue is often made by inlaying exotic materials into the wood of the butt portion of the cue. Inlays of ebony and ivory are quite common. The value of a cue is often based on the number inlays.
The angle at which a ball approaches a rail, as measured from the perpendicular to the rail.
Refers to a person gambling when he has no money. As in, "That jerk can't pay up, he was shooting air barrels the whole time".
A common way to keep track of games won when playing for small money is to use a coin that is placed under the rail next to the diamonds on the rail. The center diamond at the head of the table is taken as zero, and each diamond from that is considered to be one game. To go 'around the world' is to beat your opponent so badly that the coin travels all the way around the diamonds on the table.
Also piquet. Either a massé shot with no english, or a shot in which the cue stick is steeply angled, but not held quite as vertical as it is in full massé.
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". Compare stripes, yellows, high, overs; contrast little.
A pocket; usually used in disgust when describing a scratch (e.g., "the cue ball's gone down the sewer").
To bungle a shot in a manner that leaves the table in a fortuitous position for the opponent. Contrast sell the farm.
To reach a certain position in a tournament. "I placed 17th." "She will probably place in the money this time."
American CueSports Alliance. Their mission statement is "To heighten the interest and awareness of cue sports through the support and sanctioning of organized competition throughout the United States and North America."
This is a type of shot that shows complete control over the object ball and the cue ball.
A predetermined, fixed number of games players must win to win a match; "a race to seven" means whomever wins seven games first wins the match.