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

Also littles, little ones, little balls. In eight-ball, to be shooting the solid suit (group) of balls (1 through 7); "you're little, remember", "you're the little balls" or "I've got the littles". Compare small, solids, reds, low, spots, dots, unders; contrast big.
Describing a difficult pot: "the awkward cueing makes this shot missable."
This refers to how a player is playing on a particular occasion (a player's skill level). If their game is good, then they are at a high speed, but if they are not playing up to their potential, then they are playing at a lower speed.
This is a low bet in a game with action.
Sometimes called spots and stripes, stripes and solids or, more rarely, bigs and littles or highs and lows.
All fifteen numbered balls are used in a conventional triangle rack.
Each player is assigned either the solid balls (1-7) or the striped balls (9-15). The object is to pocket all of your assigned balls and then pocket the 8-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.
This the area behind the pocket points before the pocket. The ball can get behind here and rest waiting to be pocketed, or the cue ball can get corner hooked in this location. Different tables feature a smaller or larger area here which can make these situations more or less achievable.
Usually a one-piece cue freely available for use by patrons in bars and pool halls.
Also pro side of the pocket and missing on the professional (or pro) side of the pocket. Sometimes "of the pocket" is left off the phrase. To err on the side of overcutting a difficult corner pocket cut shot rather than undercutting in nine ball; "missing on the professional side of the pocket." So called because experienced players understand that on a thin cut, overcutting the object ball to a corner pocket will far more often leave the object ball in an unfavorable position for the incoming opponent than will an undercut, which often leaves the object ball sitting in front of or nearby the pocket it had been intended for on a miss. By contrast, in eight-ball, except when both players are shooting at the 8 ball, the incoming player after a miss is shooting for different object balls, so this maxim does not apply, and the opposite may be good strategy as, if the object ball stays near the pocket through an undercut, it is advantageously positioned for a subsequent turn and may block the opponent's use of the pocket.
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 type of nurse shot used in English billiards in which two coloured balls are positioned on either side of the mouth of a snooker table pocket but not touching and, thus placed, can be successively contacted and scored off over and over by the cue ball without moving them.
This is a ball that is left in a position that allows an easy shot, while time is spent working with other balls to better your position in the game.
Named after their innovator, legendary cuemaker George Balabushka, Bushka rings are decorative bands of material incorporated into pool cues, commonly just above the wrap area, in the form of ebony and ivory blocks, or sometimes other materials, alternating in a checked pattern.
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.
Also on the lemon. Disguising the level of one's ability to play.
A short, jabbed draw stroke usually employed so as to not commit a foul (i.e. due to following through to a double hit) when the cue ball is very near to the target object ball.
North American Poolshooters Association. Mission: To provide a competitive and fun amateur pool league competition with cash and prizes awarded to the players at the local level.
A shot that only a novice or fool would take. Usually because it is a guaranteed scratch or other foul, or because it has a low percentage of being pocketed and is likely to leave the opponent in good position.
Also known as a "Dirty Defense" or "Dirty Foul". To intentionally miss a shot (that results in a foul) in order to create a position for the cue ball that makes it hard for the other player to execute their shot. Not to be confused with a "Safety", since a safety is a legal hit.
This refers to the cluster of balls remaining in a similar position to where they were within the break
This is another name for One Pocket pool.
Same as position. "She got good shape for the next shot". See also position play, leave.
This describes when a player is trapped behind a ball. (n.) - This is also the amount of money a player is down after betting.
In snooker, the pocket nearest the yellow spot.