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 gentle tap of the cue ball with the intention of getting it as tight as possible behind another ball, in the hope of a snooker. It is most common in the game of snooker, and is illegal in many pool games, in which on every shot a ball must either be pocketed, or some ball must contact a cushion after the cue ball has contacted an object ball.
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.
Carambole billiards is a French billiards game involving two cue balls and a single red object ball. The purpose of carambole billiards is to obtain points by contacting the object ball and the opponent's cue ball in the same shot.
Also smalls, small ones, small balls. In eight-ball, to be shooting the solid suit (group) of balls (1 through 7); "you're the small one" or "I've got the smalls". Compare little, solids, reds, low, spots, dots, unders; contrast big.
This is to watch a match with such intensity that there is worry, usually because of a wager on the game.
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 the playing surface for billiards games. Consisting of 6 pockets, cushions on the side, and a felt layer covering the hard table portion, the length is usually twice as long as it is wide, but varies depending on the game at hand.
A multi-game division of a match, as used in some league and tournament formats. For example, in a match between 2 teams of 5 players each, a 25-game match might be divided into 5 rounds of 5 games each, in which the roster of one team moves one line down at the beginning of each round, such that by the end of the match every player on team A has played every player on team B in round robin fashion.
A level of competition elimination in a tournament, such as the quarterfinal round, semifinal round and final round.
A pool table where two shims have been placed on the sides of each pocket (in the jaws beneath the cloth), making the pockets "tighter" (smaller). Such tables are "tougher" than unshimmed or single-shimmed tables.
This is to watch a match with such intensity that there is worry, usually because of a wager on the game.
0-2 Barbecue is a slang billiard term that refers to a single player loosing the first 2 matches in a double elimination tournament. This double loss results in that player being knocked out of the tournament without winning even one game.
The inside walls of a pocket billiards table's pockets.
A rare and very difficult trick jump shot that turns into a draw shot upon landing. Requires precise application of spin in addition to the precise application of ball pressure to effectuate the jump. Jump draws are fairly often seen in professional trick shot competition.
In the eight-ball game variant blackball, also known as eight-ball pool, a differently colored but otherwise identical replacement for the red group (i.e., what would be the solids in an American-style pool ball set).
Chiefly American: The half of the table from which the break shot is taken. This usage is conceptually opposite that in British English, where this end of the table is called the bottom. Contrast foot. See also kitchen.
Same as gapper
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 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."
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.
A players skill level, ball advantage or match advantage when using a handicapping system.
This is an object ball that essentially covers up a path necessary for sinking the desired object ball.
Chiefly American: The short rail at the head of the table. Traditionally this is the rail on which the table manufacturer's logo appears. Compare bottom rail, baulk rail; contrast foot rail.
Actual wire or string with multiple beads strung (like an abacus) used for keeping score. Points "on the wire" are a type of handicap used, where a weaker player will be given a certain number of points before the start of the game.
Also known as "Break and Dish". In pool games, when a player breaks the racked object balls, pockets at least one ball on the break, and commences to run out the remaining object balls without the opponent getting a visit at the table.