Definition of foul

Sometimes interchangeable with scratch, though the latter is often used only to refer to the foul of pocketing the cue ball. A violation of a particular game's rules for which a set penalty is imposed.

24 Random Essential Billiards Terms

To seal the pores of a wooden cue's shaft or to smooth out minor dents in the shaft by rubbing vigorously with some material.
To similarly vigorously rub the edge of a cue tip (especially a new one) to fortify it against mushrooming and ensure that it is perfectly flush with the ferrule.
A rare and extremely difficult trick jump shot that turns into a massé upon landing. Requires very precise application of spin in addition to the precise application of ball pressure to effectuate the jump. Turn-of-the-20th-century World Balkline Champion Jacob Schaefer Sr. was known to daringly perform jump massés in competition.
See two-shot carry.
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.
American Cuemakers Association. This organization was formed in 1992 to help bring value to the development and advancement of cues in the United states.
This is a bank in which the object ball hit will cross the path of the cue ball on the way to its destination.
As in many other sports, "legal" means not causing or likely to cause a foul (the opposite being illegal). A legal hit is one in which the requirements for a non-foul hit are met (e.g., in nine-ball, the lowest-numbered ball on the table was hit by the cue ball first, and at least one object ball was pocketed, or any ball reached a cushion, after the hit on the first object ball.). A legal shot is one in which no foul of any kind was involved (e.g. there was not a double hit by the cue, the player's bridge hand did not move a ball, etc.). A legal stroke is one in which the cue stroke obeyed the rules (e.g. the shooter did not perform an illegal jump shot by scooping under the cue ball with the cue tip). A legal ball is a ball-on, an object ball at which it is permissible for the player to shoot. And so on. The term can be used in many ways consistent with these examples ("legal pocket" in one-pocket, "legal equipment" under tournament specifications, etc.).
A phrase used in snooker to describe the scenario whereby there are not enough available points on the table to level the scores for the frame, therefore the trailing player needs his/her opponent to foul in order to be able to make up the deficit. The name comes from the fact that this would normally have to be achieved by placing the leading player in foul-prone situations such as difficult snookers.
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.
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.
To move a ball (usually deliberately) from a safe position, e.g. close to the middle of a cushion or in a cluster, so that it becomes pottable.
In snooker, the colour ball worth 5 points, whose spot is at the center of the table.
A players skill level, ball advantage or match advantage when using a handicapping system.
This is a type of shot that shows complete control over the object ball and the cue ball.
This refers to a shot that travels on a shallower path due to the english placed on it. This is to come up on the near side of a pocket on a bank shot.
This is a term used in slang to reference the bridge tool.
Technique using different wood inlays to create picture designs on the butt of the cue.
Any game which uses a rack composed of less than 15 balls.
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.
A player skilled at very thin cut shots, and shots in which a ball must pass cleanly through a very narrow space (such as the cue ball between two of the opponent's object balls with barely enough room) to avoid a foul and/or to pocket a ball. Such shots may be referred to as "surgery", "surgical shots", "surgical cuts", etc. (chiefly US, colloquial). See also feather (US) or snick (UK).
This is a kind of cue made of four pieces of wood, the butt sleeve, the points, the handle, and the forearm, with each piece pinned, doweled, and glued together.
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.
This is a handicapping method where one player gets the break, and is allowed to choose any ball afterwards to put in their pocket.
This is when you strike a cue ball off center to gain control on the movement on the cue ball.