Definition of billiards

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

24 Random Essential Billiards Terms

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.
In eight-ball and related games, describes the situation in which neither player has yet claimed a suit (group) of balls. Often shortened to simply open: "Is it still an open table?" "Yes, it's open."
A joint type which makes it possible to screw and unscrew the butt and shaft very quickly; faster than standard threads.
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.
When the contact between the cue ball and object ball is dead center.
This can be a shot where the best option for you is to sink a ball in you opponents pocket in the game of one pocket. This can also refer to the act of offering an opponent a ball adjustment to even the playing field.
The horizontal plane directly in the center of the cue ball, which when hit exactly by the cue tip should impart no follow or draw.
A rule in blackball whereby after an opponent has faulted and thus yielded two shots, if the incoming shooter pots a ball on the first shot, (s)he is still allowed to miss in a later shot and take a second shot in-hand (from the "D" or from baulk, or if the opponent potted the cue ball, from anywhere)—even on the black, in most variants. Also called the "two visits" rule; i.e., the two penalty shots are considered independent visits to the table, and the limiting variants discussed at two shots below cannot logically apply.
This is your pocket for sinking balls in a one pocket game.
Used by itself often with "low" and "high": "that's a low-percentage shot for me", "I should really take the high-percentage one".
Nine Ball is a rotation game so a player must hit the lowest numbered ball first.
The object of the game is pocket the 9-ball on any legal shot.
This is a location where a player can go inexpensively to refine their pool skills. These establishments began as horserace betting houses, and are still often filled with games involving money action. If you get thirsty, many pool halls offer cold refreshments, however, be careful you are not there just for the refreshments. In that case, you may as well be playing at a bar with a bent cue on a rain table.
The wrap is situated over the handle of the cue, below the forearm and above the butt. Common materials used are Irish linen, leather, or cork. These materials make sense, because they provide a sure grip, long life, and help to absorb moisture from the hand when you are sweating through a difficult rack. In addition, wraps are used to compliment the color or style of the cue stick and to elegantly complete the look.
Also tiptool, tip-tool. Any of a class of maintenance tools for cue tips, including shapers, scuffers, mushroom trimmers, tappers, burnishers and tip clamps. Road, league and tournament players often carry an array of tip tools in their cases. The term is generally not applied to cue chalk.
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.
In snooker, the colour ball that is worth three points, being the second-least valuable colour behind the yellow. It is one of the baulk colours.
Shooting at an object ball that is already in motion at the moment of shooting and cue ball impact; illegal in most games and usually only seen in exhibition/trick shots.
A defensive action taken when a player either has no "makeable" or "high percentage" shot or chooses to leave his opponent in a difficult situation. It is a legal shot and is not considered to be dirty pool. A safety must still conform with the rule concerning hitting the correct ball first and striking a rail afterwards. If a correct ball is accidentally pocketed while playing safe, the shooter must continue to shoot.
See overcut.
The placement of the balls, especially the cue ball, relative to the next planned shot. Also known as shape.
Chiefly American: Also known as side spin, english (which is usually not capitalized) is spin placed on the cue ball when hit with the cue tip to the left or right of the ball's center. English has a marked effect on cue ball rebound angle off cushions (though not off object balls), and is thus crucial for gaining shape; and can be used to "throw" an object ball slightly off its otherwise expected trajectory, to cheat the pocket, and for other effects. "English" is sometimes used more inclusively, to colloquially also refer to follow and draw. In combination one could say bottom-right english, or like the face of a clock (4 o'clock english). The British and Irish do not use this term, instead preferring "side".
A shot played with stun, but not quite enough to completely stop the cue ball, allowing for a little follow. It is played so that a follow shot can be controlled more reliably, with a firmer strike than for a slow roll. It is widely considered as one of the most difficult shots in the game to master, but an excellent weapon in a player's armory once it has been.
This is the raised portion on the side of the table; the cushions are essentially rubber bumpers covered in the table cloth.
The number of balls pocketed in an inning in pool (e.g., a run of five balls), or points scored in a row in carom billiards (e.g., a run of five points). Compare British break (sense 2), which is applied to pool as well as snooker in British English.