Vocabulary, Slang and Definitions

25 Random Essential Billiards Terms

Failure to hit an object ball at all with the cue ball. In most sets of rules, this is a foul like any other. However, in some variants of bar pool a table scratch while shooting for the 8 ball is a loss of game where other more minor fouls might not be, as is scratching on the 8 ball (neither result in a loss of game in most professional rules).
By way of drift from the above definition, the term is also applied by many league players to the foul in more standardized rules of failing to drive a (any) ball to a cushion, or to pocket a legal object ball, after the cue ball's initial contact with an object ball.
By way of entirely different derivation ("scratch off the table"), it can also mean knocking the cue ball (or more loosely, any ball) completely off the table.
Making all of the required shots in a game (rack) without the opponent ever getting to the table or getting back to the table.
To indicate where something is to be done. To "mark the pocket" means to indicate which pocket you intend to sink an object ball.
This refers to the cluster of balls remaining in a similar position to where they were within the break.
This is a player who has the ability to make difficult shots in one pocket, because they are likely proficient at other pool games first.
This is the raised portion on the side of the table; the cushions are essentially rubber bumpers covered in the table cloth.
This is a style of playing a pool game with a partner playing on your team. You can either take turns or play in a tag team style. This works well when there are a lot of people around that want to play.
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.
These are fouls made in one turn and then on the next by the same player each time. Some games have a rule that a player will lose the rack or match with three succesive fouls.
The person in charge of the game whose primary role is to ensure adherence by both players to the appropriate rules of the game being played. Other duties of the referee include racking each frame, re-spotting balls during the course of a game, maintaining the equipment associated with the table (e.g. keeping the balls clean), controlling the crowd and, if necessary, controlling the players. Formerly sometimes referred to as the umpire.
Also string off. Chiefly British; Obsolete: Same as string or lag.
A pool room may refer to an establishment that is the same as a pool hall. A private residence may also have a pool room. That would be a room in a house or a recreation room in an apartment building, hotel or condominium complex that has a room that the main activity is dedicated to playing pool.
The angle at which a ball approaches a rail, as measured from the perpendicular to the rail.
A shot where the cue ball must hit the object ball so as to make it travel out of a straight line, at a different angle, toward its destination.
The heavy, finely milled rock (slate) that forms the bed of the table, beneath the cloth. Major slate suppliers for the billiards industry are Italy, Brazil and China. Some cheaper tables, and novelty tables designed for outdoor use, do not use genuine slate beds, but artificial materials such as Slatrol.
This is a handicapping method where one player gets the break, and is allowed to choose any ball afterwards to put in their pocket.
A cross-corner bank shot from one end of the table to the other (i.e. across the center string). Long banks are considerably more difficult, because of the smaller margin for error due to distance and angle widening, than cross-side banks and short cross-corner banks from the same end of the table.
Technique using different wood inlays to create picture designs on the butt of the cue.

1- Noun: A player's wager in a money game.

2- Verb:To provide part or all of a player's stake for a gambling session in which one is not a player. A person who stakes or backs a player is called a stakehorse or backer. "Stakehorse" can also be used as a verb.

Chiefly British. This is a shot in a snooker game where the first object ball hit contacts another object ball and the second one is pocketed. If both of the balls are red, or if the second ball would be on if the first ball had not been deemed free then it is an allowed shot.
To shoot without taking enough warm-up strokes to properly aim and feel out the stroke and speed to be applied. One-stroking is a common symptom of nervousness and a source of missed shots and failed position.
In the UK, a long-distance shot played to pot a ball close to a pocket with heavy top spin, so that when the cue ball hits the cushion it bounces off but then stops due to the counteraction of the spin. It is not common in competitive play, being more of an exhibition shot.
This is a type of shot that is executed by an object ball caroming off of another object ball in order to gain the pocket.

1- Short for "pool shark", poolshark (US); sharp, "pool sharp" (British)

2- Verb: To perform some act or make some utterance with the intent to distract, irritate or intimidate the opponent so that they do not perform well, miss a shot, etc. Most league and tournament rules forbid blatant sharking, as a form of unsportsmanlike conduct, but it is very common in bar pool.
Noun: Another term for hustler.
Noun: A very good player. This usage is common among non-players who often intend it as a compliment and are not aware of its derogatory senses .

Sometimes called spots and stripes, stripes and solids or, more rarely, bigs and littles or highs and lows.
All fifteen numbered balls are used in a conventional triangle rack.
Each player is assigned either the solid balls (1-7) or the striped balls (9-15). The object is to pocket all of your assigned balls and then pocket the 8-ball.
Often times a protective finish is applied to a cue stick after construction. A UV polyurethane is common, and this helps to protect the cue from fading and dings.