Definition of key ball

The object ball involved in a key shot.

24 Random Essential Billiards Terms

Describes a cue ball sliding on the cloth without any top spin or back spin on it.
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.
This is a bank in which the object ball hit will cross the path of the cue ball on the way to its destination.
This is the red colored object ball in carom games.
In snooker, any of the 15 balls worth 1 point each that can be potted in any order. During the course of a break a player must first pot a red followed by a colour, and then a red and colour, etc., until the reds run out and then the re-spotted six colours must be cleared in their order. Potting more than one red in a single shot is not a foul - the player simply gets a point for each red potted.
In blackball, one of two groups of seven object balls that must be potted before the black. Reds are spotted before yellows, if balls from both group must be spotted at the same time. Compare stripes; contrast yellow ball.
In carom billiards, the object ball that is neither player's cue ball.
Principally British: In snooker, if a player wins all of the required frames in a match without conceding a frame to their opponent - for example, if a player wins a best-of-nine-frame match with a score of 5-0 - this is referred to as a "whitewash". This term is based on a similar term used in the card game of "patience" in the UK. However, it is not used in the context of a 1-0 winning scoreline in a match consisting of a single frame.
An instance of contact between balls, usually used in the context of describing an object ball contacting another object ball (e.g. "the two ball kissed off the twelve ball"), or in snooker the cue ball making contact with a ball after the initial contact with the object ball. If the player's intention was to cause two object balls to kiss (e.g. to pocket a shot ball after a ricochet off a stationary one), it is often called a kiss shot.
A reference to the amount of English applied to the object ball from the cue ball.
A cue made specificaly for an individual player. The term may also describe a quality product of a low volume yielding cue maker who puts more time and effort into both the design and structural integrity of the cue stick, as opposed to a cue manufacturer that builds their cues in a more assembly line fashion.
This playing to a number less than eight in a game of one pocket.
In eight-ball, when all object balls are balls-on for either player.
A description of a break shot in which the rack (pack) is spread apart well. See also the open break requirement in some games' rules, including eight-ball and nine-ball.
In carom billiards, descriptive of play in which the balls are not gathered.
A ball that is easily made from many positions on the table but which is left untouched while the rack is played, so that in the event the player gets out of position, the shooter has an insurance shot. Typically an insurance ball will be in or near the jaws of a pocket.
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.
A shot, especially common in straight pool and in some variants of blackball (but not WEPF/EPA rules), in which a player intentionally commits a foul with the object in mind of either leaving the opponent with little chance of running out or simply to avoid shooting where no good shot is presented and to do anything else would give the opponent an advantage. It is often referred to in straight pool as a "back scratch."
To contact the chosen object ball in such a way to make it bank off a rail before being pocketed.
This is a shot that is meant to remove one of your opponent's balls that lies near their pocket in the game of one pocket.
Chiefly American: The half of the table in which the object balls are racked (in games in which racked balls are used). This usage is conceptually opposite that in British English, where this end of the table is called the top. Contrast head.
Skilled playing in which knowledge of ball speed, angles, post-impact trajectory, and other factors are used to gain position (i.e. a good leave) after the target ball is struck. The goals of position play are generally to ensure that the next shot is easy or at least makeable, and/or to play a safety in the advent of a miss (intentional or otherwise).
(Jack and Jill) Mixed doubles match (each team has one male and one female).
The World Confederation of Billiard Sports (WCBS, sometimes called the World Confederation of Billiards Sports) is the international umbrella organization encompassing the major cue sports (billiards-type games), including carom billiards, pool games of several varieties, and snooker. The primary aim of WCBS is to establish billiard-type sports as medal events in as many multiple-sports competitions as possible, on both regional and world levels. The ultimate goal of WCBS is to have billiard sports included in the Olympic Games.
The pool player who is at the table taking their shot.
The three-foul rule describes a situation in which a player is assessed a defined penalty after committing a third successive foul. The exact penalty, its prerequisites and whether it is in place at all, vary depending on the games. In nine-ball and straight pool, a player must be the told he is on two fouls in order to transgress the rule, and if violated, results in a loss of game for the former and a special point penalty of a loss of fifteen points (plus one for the foul itself) in the latter together with the ability to require the violator to rerack and rebreak. In Irish standard pool and English billiards, it is a loss of game if a player commits a third foul while shooting at the black. In snooker, three successive fouls from an unsnookered position result in forfeiting the frame. Repeat fouls from a snookered position are quite common - Dave Harold holds the record in a competitive match, missing the same shot 14 successive times.
The act of setting up the balls for a break shot. In tournament play this will be done by the referee, but in lower-level play, players either rack for themselves or for each other depending on convention.
When the cue ball is tucked behind the corner of a pocket, therefore not allowing a direct shot at the object ball without it bouncing of the corner of the rail.
A break shot in which the object is to leave the incoming player with no shot or a very difficult shot, such as is normally employed in the opening break of straight pool. Cf. open break.