Definition of billiards

A game of pool played on a table shaped like a rectangle, with or without pockets.

24 Random Essential Billiards Terms

A requirement under some pocket billiards rulesets that either an object ball be pocketed, or at least four object balls be driven to contact the cushions, on the opening break shot.
Same as suit, predominantly in British terminology, i.e., in eight-ball either of the set of seven balls (reds or yellows) that must be cleared before potting the black. Generally used in the generic, especially in rulesets or articles, rather than colloquially by players.
Short for left english (side), i.e. spin imparted to the cue ball by stroking it to the lefthand side of its vertical axis. Contrast right.
This is a ball that is resting on the edge of a pocket, and would be a very easy shot to pocket.
This is also used to describe the ball when it rests on the edge of the pocket, almost begging to drop.
To bungle a shot in a manner that leaves the table in a fortuitous position for the opponent. Contrast sell the farm.
This is the stick used to contact the cue ball in pool and billiards games. The cue stick is usually made of wood, features a special contact tip, and is usually tapered to slide through your hand. The price of these tools can range from oil change to transmission change depending on the quality of craftsmanship and design.
Also known as a "Dirty Defense" or "Dirty Foul". To intentionally miss a shot (that results in a foul) in order to create a position for the cue ball that makes it hard for the other player to execute their shot. Not to be confused with a "Safety", since a safety is a legal hit.
To determine the order of play, players (representing only themselves, or teams) each simultaneously shoot a ball from the kitchen (or in British games, from the baulk line) to the end rail and back toward the bottom rail. Whichever shooter's ball comes to rest closest to the bottom rail gets to choose who breaks the rack. It is permissible but not required for the lagged ball to touch or rebound from the bottom rail, but not to touch the side rails. Lagging is usually a two-party activity, though there are games such as cutthroat in which three players might lag. In the case of a tie, the tying shooters re-lag. The lag is most often used in tournament play or other competitions. In hard-break games like nine-ball and eight-ball the winner of the lag would normally take the break, while in soft-break games like straight pool would likely require the loser of the lag to break, since breaking would be a disadvantage.
An exhibition shot designed to impress either by a player's skill or knowledge of how to set the balls up and take advantage of the angles of the table; usually a combination of both. A trick shot may involve items otherwise never seen during the course of a game, such as bottles, baskets, etc., and even members of the audience being placed on or around the table.
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.
A term used to indicate balls that are frozen, or close enough that no matter from which angle they are hit from the combination will send the outer ball the same direction. "Are the 2 and 7 pointing at the corner?? Okay, I'll use that duck to get position way over there."
A type of nurse used in carom billiards games. With one object ball frozen to a cushion and the second object ball just slightly away from the rail, the cue ball is gently rebounded across the face of both balls, freezing the away ball to the rail and moving the frozen ball away the same distance its partner was previously, resulting in an identical but reversed configuration, in position to be struck again by the cue ball from the opposite side.
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.
A pool ball that was meant to go into the pocket, but got caught up by the jaw and ended up bouncing back and forth before stopping short of the pocket.

1- Shortened phrase of "ball-in-hand".

2 - In snooker, the ability to place the cue ball anywhere inside the boundaries of the D. This occurs at the start of a frame, and after the cue ball has been potted or forced off the table.
Also a short form of "Ball In Hand".

This is a shot where the cue ball double kisses in order to direct the object ball toward the pocket.
This is a series of angled rails present within some pool tables that directs pocketed balls to a central location on the table for retrieval after the game.
In snooker, after particular fouls are committed, the referee can call a "free ball." This allows the next player to assign any ball as "ball on" if he or she is shooting next.
This is the way a ball rolls when impeded by something on the table or a blemish in the cloth, often times regular players will remember certain rolls and play to them.
The surface of the table used for play (often made with slate).
In the carom games, any shot where the end result is all the balls near each other; ideally, in position for the start of a nurse on the next stroke.
The imaginary line drawn perpendicular to the impact line between the cue ball and an object ball. The cue ball will travel along this line after impact with an object ball if it has no vertical spin on it (is sliding) at the moment of impact on a non-center-to-center collision. See also stun shot.
This is a shot that shows great control and positioning in where the cue will be when all the balls stop rolling.
Describes the propensity of pockets to more easily accept an imperfectly aimed ball shot at a relatively soft speed, that might not fall if shot with more velocity ("that ball normally wouldn't fall but he hit it at pocket speed"). The less sensitive to shot-speed that a pocket is, the "faster" it is said to be.
Describes the velocity of an object ball shot with just enough speed to reach the intended pocket and drop. "Shoot this with pocket speed only, so you don't send the cue ball too far up-table."