Definition of skittle

An upright pin, which looks like a miniature bowling pin, cone or obelisk. Skittles, as employed in billiards games, have been so-called since at least 1634. One standardized size, for the largely Italian and South American game five-pins, is 25 mm (1 in.) tall, with 7 mm (0.28 in.) round bases, though larger variants have long existed for other games such as Danish pin billiards. Depending upon the game there may be one skittle, or several, and they may be targets to hit (often via a carom) or obstacles to avoid, usually the former. They are also sometimes called pins, though that term can be ambiguous. Because of the increasing international popularity of the Italian game five-pins), they are sometimes also known even in English by their Italian name, birilli (singular birillo). Skittles are also used as obstacles in some artistic billiards shots. #Flat, thin rectangular skittles, somewhat like large dominoes, approximately 6 in. tall by 3 in. wide, and placed upright like an obelisks on the table in specific spots, are used in the obsolescent and principally Australian games devil's pool and victory billiards. Depending upon the exact game being played, there may be one pin, or several of various colors (e.g. ten white and two black in devil's pool), and they may be targets or obstacles, most commonly the latter. They are usually made of plastic, and are increasingly difficult to obtain, even from Australian billiards suppliers. A black obelisk skittle of this sort features prominently, as a particularly dire hazard, in several scenes of sci-fi/pool film Hard Knuckle (1992, Australia). Skittles as used in billiards games date to ground billiards (13th century or earlier) played with a mace, and hand-thrown games of bowls from at least the same era using the same equipment. Ball games using a recognizable form of skittle are known from as early as ca. 3300 BCE in Ancient Egypt.

24 Random Essential Billiards Terms

Chiefly British. This is a shot in a snooker game where the first object ball hit contacts another object ball and the second one is pocketed. If both of the balls are red, or if the second ball would be on if the first ball had not been deemed free then it is an allowed shot.
A barrel is how much money per game a player is betting. As in, "I have ten barrels at $20 a game".
This is the point on the object ball where the cue exactly impacts or the point at which two balls touch when they impact.
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.
The inside walls of a pocket billiards table's pockets.
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.
This is missing the fact that you owe a ball in a game of one pocket after a scratch.
A cut shot in which if a line were drawn from the cue ball to the rail behind the targeted object ball, perpendicular to that rail, the object ball would lie beyond the line with respect to the pocket being targeted.
This is to miss your shot but either luckily or on purpose leave your opponent with nothing to shoot at.
A break shot in which the rack (pack) is disturbed as little as possible within the bounds of a legal shot, in order to force the opponent to have to break it up further. A soft break is desirable in some games, such as straight pool, in which breaking is a disadvantage; and forbidden by the open break rules of other games such as nine-ball and eight-ball.
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 snooker, a situation during a frame in which the first line of the remaining reds grouped together, where the original pack was, are in a straight horizontal line. This has implications when opening the pack, as a full-ball contact off the top cushion will usually cause the cue-ball to stick to the red and fail to develop a potting opportunity.
To take one's two-piece cue stick apart. When done before a game's conclusion, it often indicates that the game is conceded.
A small clamping tip tool used to firmly hold and apply pressure to a replacement cue tip until the glue holding the tip to the ferrule has fully dried.
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.
The interlocking connection between the butt and shaft ends of a two-piece cue stick. Usually connects via means of a steel or wooden pin, and may be protected by a collar of metal or some other material, or may connect wood-on-wood.
This is a particular ball which lends itself to be used as a "blocker" or a "protector."
To use a particular ball as security by playing a safety or leaving it where it will act as one.
To contact the chosen object ball in such a way to make it bank off a rail before being pocketed.
This describes a shot where you bank the object ball off of a rail and then sink it in a corner pocket.
A low hit on the cue ball (but not as low as normal draw), often used to change the cue ball's angle of deflection off the object ball.
The angle at which a ball approaches a rail, as measured from the perpendicular to the rail.
This is a ball that is positioned near your pocket that can be used to kiss off of when sinking another object ball.
A bridge formed by the hand where no finger loops over the shaft of the cue. Typically, the cue stick is channeled by a "v"-shaped groove formed by the thumb and the base of the index finger.
An imaginary line drawn from the desired path an object ball is to be sent (usually the center of a pocket) and the center of the object ball.