Definition of legal

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.).

24 Random Essential Billiards Terms

Feel generally refers to that elusive quality that makes one cue feel special or superior to another. In essence, it is the cumulative effect of all of a cues characteristics, including weight, shaft diameter, balance, grip material, length, etc. It can vary greatly from one player to another. A cue that feels great to one player does not necessarily fell good to another.
This is a shot involving contact between the cue ball and an object ball which allows the cue ball to contact another object in order to sink a pocket with the second object ball.
This is the ball that sits in the front, or apex, position in the rack.
Name for the ball that when pocketed, wins the game, or any ball that when made results in a payday such as a way in the game of Chicago.
This is a shot where the cue ball double kisses in order to direct the object ball toward the pocket.
The placement of player(s) automatically in a tournament where some have to qualify, or automatic placement in later rounds.
A style of game play in which as many players are allowed to join as the participants choose, and anyone can quit at any time. The term, most often used in the context of gambling, is borrowed from poker. The folk games three-ball and killer are usually played as open ring games, as is Kelly pool.
By extension, a multi-player game that anyone may initially join, but which has a fixed roster of competitors once it begins, is sometimes also called a ring game. Cutthroat is, by its nature, such a game. A famous regular ring game event of this sort is the Grady Mathews-hosted six-player, $3000-buy-in ring ten-ball competition at the annual Derby City Classic.
A nine-ball ring game is played by more than two players. Safeties are not allowed.
This is a unique game played on a table with smaller pockets. The balls are racked in a typical pyramid, but after the break any ball can be the cue ball, and you can score by hitting a ball in or by putting the ball in after bouncing it from another object ball.
A stroke in which the cue's tip glances or slips off the cue ball not effectively transferring the intended force. Usually the result is a bungled shot. Common causes include a lack of chalk on the cue tip, a poorly groomed cue tip and not stroking straight through the cue ball, e.g. because of steering.
Derived from "sitting duck", usually referring to an object ball sitting close to a pocket or so positioned that is virtually impossible to miss. Same as hanger (US, colloquial), sitter (UK).
The triangular device, generally plastic, used to group the balls in a pyramid form prior to the beginning of a game.
A particular shot where the object ball hits or grazes another object ball on the way to its pocket or toward hitting yet another object ball.
This is to execute a shot where the cue ball is controlled perfectly and stops where you want it to exactly.
Pocket openings that are significantly wider than are typical and thus allow shots hit with a poor degree of accuracy to be made that would not be pocketed on a table with more exacting pocket dimensions.
A well calculated successful slop shot that is usually hit a little harder than it should be and results in a pocketed ball or two without any fouls.
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.
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.
In snooker, the colour ball worth 5 points, whose spot is at the center of the table.
This is when a player has scratched and the foul in one pocket calls for them to spot a ball, but not able to be spotted at the time. In this case a coin is usually placed on the side of the table to keep tabs.
In blackball, a penalty conceded by a player after a fault. The incoming opponent is then allowed to miss twice before the faulting player is allowed another visit. Many local rules state the in-hand from the "D" or baulk (or if the opponent potted the cue ball, from anywhere) nature of the second shot is lost if a ball is potted on the first shot, that it is lost if the ball potted in the first shot was that player's last coloured ball (object ball in their group), and/or that there is only ever one shot on the black after a fault.
Billiard Congress of America. The official governing body for pocket billiards in the United States.
Common slang in the US for a cheap, poorly made cue. Compare wood.
Same as duck. Derives from an easily shot ball "hanging" in the pocket.
Also treble. A British term for a type of bank shot in which the object ball is potted off two cushions, especially by sending it twice across the table and into a side pocket. Also called a two-cushion double.