Definition of pool

"Pocket billiards," or a game in which balls are shot into pockets.

24 Random Essential Billiards Terms

Also known as "Break and Dish". In pool games, when a player breaks the racked object balls, pockets at least one ball on the break, and commences to run out the remaining object balls without the opponent getting a visit at the table.
The game of snooker. This is a very demanding game that isn't played as often in the U.S. as it is in other countries. The table needed is slightly larger, and there are 15 red object balls needed in addition to six color balls. After the balls are set up according to the rules, play resumes in turns with points scored as one on each red ball, and as is denoted with each other colored ball sunk. This is a challenging game that demands skill and excellent execution.
To leave the opponent (accidentally or by means of a safety) so that a certain shot on a preferred object ball cannot be played directly in a straight line by normal cueing. It most commonly means that the object ball cannot be hit, because it is hidden by another ball or, more rarely, the knuckle of a pocket (see corner-hooked). It can also refer to the potting angle or another significant point of contact on the object ball, blocking an otherwise more straightforward shot, even if an edge can be seen. A common related adjective describing a player in this situation is snookered. Also known as "to hook", for which the corresponding adjective "hooked" is also common. See also free ball.
An instance of this situation (e.g. "she's put him in a difficult snooker"). A player can choose a range of shots to get out of a snooker; usually a kick shot will be implemented but semi-massés are often preferred, and in games where it is not a foul, jump shots may be employed that often yield good results for skilled players. "Snooker" is used loosely (when used at all; "hook" is favored) in the US, but has very specific definitions and subtypes (such as the total snooker) in blackball.
Also known as joint caps. Plugs that screw into/onto the threads of a joint when a two-piece cue is broken down to keep foreign objects and moisture from contacting the joint mechanism.
A shot aimed so that the center of the cue ball is in line with the edge of the object ball, eclipsing half of the ball. "Hit it just a little thinner than half-ball." Assuming a cling does not occur, the shot will impart post-contact momentum on the object ball in a direction 30° (which is arcsin(1 - x), where x is the fraction of object ball eclipsed: ½ in this case) off the direction of the cue-ball's pre-contact momentum. Also notable because the carom angle the cue ball takes is more consistent than at other contact points.
The area on the table behind the head string.
The origin of the term has been the subject of some speculation but the best explanation known is that in the 1800s, many homes did not have room for both a billiard table and a dining room table. The solution was a billiards table that had a cover converting it into a dining table. Kept in the dining room, play on such a table was often restricted by the size of the room, so it would be placed so that the head rail would face the connected kitchen door, thus affording a player room for the backswing without hitting a wall. A player was therefore either half or sometimes fully (literally) "in the kitchen" when breaking the balls.
Toward the foot of the table.
The 5 out (meaning the player getting the handicap can win by making the 5, 6, 7, 8 or 9 balls).
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.
A unit of scoring, in games such as snooker and straight pool with numerical scoring.
A unit of scoring, in team matches in leagues that use numerical scoring instead of simple game/frame win vs. loss ratios.
Another term for knuckle / tittie.
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.
Also called a rake. A special stick with a grooved, slotted or otherwise supportive end attachment that helps guide the cue stick - a stand-in for the bridge hand. It is usually used only when the shot cannot be comfortably reached with a hand bridge. Often shortened to bridge or called a bridge stick. An entire class of different mechanical bridges exist for snooker, called rests (see that entry for details), also commonly used in blackball and English billiards.
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.
Also topspin, top-spin, top. Same as follow. Contrast bottom spin, back spin.
A type of spin imparted to the cue ball to make it rebound from a cushion at a shallower angle than it would if the spin had not been used.
(Chiefly British.) In snooker and blackball/eight-ball pool, an instance where the cue ball has been potted (pocketed) after contacting an object ball. It is a fault (foul) in most games. There is no equivalent (current) American term for this specific means of pocketing the white ball. Compare losing hazard, scratch.
Usually a one-piece cue freely available for use by patrons in bars and pool halls.
Also winner. A shot in which the cue ball is used to pot another ball. In snooker and most pool games doing this is known as potting, pocketing or sinking the targeted ball. The term derives from this hazard winning the player points, while losing hazards cost the player points, in early forms of billiards. Whether the ball is an object ball or an opponent's cue ball depends upon the type of game (some have two cue balls). The move will score points in most (but not all) games in which hazards (as such) apply, such as English billiards (in which a "red winner" is the potting of the red ball and a "white winner" the potting of the opponent's cue ball, each worth a different amount of points).
A British term describing when a ball is tight on the cushion and a player sends the cue ball to hit both the object ball and the rail at nearly the same time; the object ball, ideally, stays tight to the rail and is thus "velcroed" to the rail. Inside english is often employed to achieve this effect, hitting slightly before the ball. The movement of a ball just next to the rail (but not the shot described to achieve this movement) is called hugging the rail in both the UK and the US.
Same as spot
British term referring to the base or metaphorical "feet" of a ball that rattles in the jaws of a pocket before eventually dropping. Usually said of an object ball for which the intention was to pot it.
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.
To play a shot using a more difficult application of stroke and speed to achieve a certain desired position for the next shot, even at the expense of or sharply increasing the likelihood of a miss.
A very thin cut shot in which the cue ball just brushes the edge of an object ball. "Feather" by itself can be both noun and verb (e.g. "feathering the ball").
The full fifteen ball set of pool or snooker object balls after being racked, before the break shot (i.e., same as rack, definition 2, and triangle, defn. 2). Chiefly British today, but also an American usage ca. World War I.