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

Same as angle of reflection.
This a shot that hits the object ball at the nine ball to see if you can get lucky by sinking the nine ball in any pocket. (also see Cheese the Nine and Rolling the Cheese).
This is the running score of a player during his inning of play. The sum of the continuously scored points, or where the player stands in the run on the table.
To give a handicap to an opponent where they have to win a specified number less games than the other player in order to triumph in the match. The name refers to posting games on the scorekeeping mechanism known as a wire, though it is employed when no actual use of the particular device is available or intended.
This is when it is necessary to change a set handicap after play indicates it favors one player more than the other.
A pool table where two shims have been placed on the sides of each pocket (in the jaws beneath the cloth), making the pockets "tighter" (smaller). Such tables are "tougher" than unshimmed or single-shimmed tables.
In eight-ball and related games, describes the situation in which neither player has yet claimed a suit (group) of balls. Often shortened to simply open: "Is it still an open table?" "Yes, it's open."
Describes a player who needs only one more game win to be victorious in the match.
This is a shot where the cue ball double kisses in order to direct the object ball toward the pocket.
Refers to a person gambling when he has no money. As in, "That jerk can't pay up, he was shooting air barrels the whole time".
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.
Making all of the required shots in a game (rack) without the opponent ever getting to the table or getting back to the table.
A pool cue designed for breaking. Along with sometimes having unusual weight or balance to build maximum speed for the cue ball, some break cues have stiffer shafts and special breaking cue tips to transfer energy more efficiently to the cue ball.
A 7 inch (17.8 cm) square box drawn on a balkline table from the termination of a balkline with the rail, thus defining a restricted space in which only 3 points may be scored before one ball must be driven from the area. It developed to curtail the effectiveness of the chuck nurse, which in turn had been invented to thwart the effectiveness of the Parker's box in stopping long, repetitive runs using the anchor nurse.
Slang for the cue ball.
This refers to a shot that travels on a shallower path due to the english placed on it. This is to come up on the near side of a pocket on a bank shot.
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.
This is an object ball that essentially covers up a path necessary for sinking the desired object ball.
To enter the loser bracket in a double elimination tournament, or otherwise slip in standing in other tournament formats (i.e., to lose a game/frame/round/match, but still remain in the competition).
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.
When a player is playing flawlessly, just "cannot miss" and the game seems effortless.
Also goose neck rest. Same as swan.
This is a timing device for monitoring and restricting shot times for a player.
When the tip of the cue begins to hang over the sides of the ferrule from constant use. This is the action of mushrooming, and it is important to use a tip tool to reshape the tip to fit the ferrule.