Definition of soft break

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.

24 Random Essential Billiards Terms

When playing 9 Ball, a dead ball is an object ball the falls into a pocket when a foul has been committed (for example, the shooter scratches or does not hit the lowest ball first). If keeping score by counting balls fallen, neither player gets the point for that ball.
The imaginary line drawn perpendicular to the impact line between the cue ball and an object ball. The cue ball will travel along this line after impact with an object ball if it has no vertical spin on it (is sliding) at the moment of impact on a non-center-to-center collision. See also stun shot.
Chiefly British: Same as duck, and stemming from the same obvious etymology.
In snooker, the pocket nearest the yellow spot.
Failure to hit an object ball at all with the cue ball. In most sets of rules, this is a foul like any other. However, in some variants of bar pool a table scratch while shooting for the 8 ball is a loss of game where other more minor fouls might not be, as is scratching on the 8 ball (neither result in a loss of game in most professional rules).
By way of drift from the above definition, the term is also applied by many league players to the foul in more standardized rules of failing to drive a (any) ball to a cushion, or to pocket a legal object ball, after the cue ball's initial contact with an object ball.
By way of entirely different derivation ("scratch off the table"), it can also mean knocking the cue ball (or more loosely, any ball) completely off the table.
This is a shot where the cue ball caroms off a number of balls in a pin ball, back and forth, fashion to achieve a shot.
Describes a cue ball sliding on the cloth without any top spin or back spin on it.
One-pocket (often spelled one pocket) is a two-player (or -team) pocket billiards (pool) game. The object of the game is to score points by pocketing (potting) pool balls into specific pockets. A point is made when a player makes any object ball into that player's designated pocket. The winner is the first to score an agreed-upon number of points (most commonly 8). The player making the break shot (typically after winning the lag) chooses a foot corner pocket for the rest of the game; all of that shooter's balls must be shot into that pocket. All of the opponent's balls must be made in the other foot corner pocket.
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.
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.
Slang term for the cue ball.
This is an object ball that essentially covers up a path necessary for sinking the desired object ball.
Often times a protective finish is applied to a cue stick after construction. A UV polyurethane is common, and this helps to protect the cue from fading and dings.
A Carom game with lines drawn to form rectangles that restrict play and reduce the potential for high runs.
A type of nurse used in carom billiards games. With one object ball frozen to a cushion and the second object ball just slightly away from the rail, the cue ball is gently rebounded across the face of both balls, freezing the away ball to the rail and moving the frozen ball away the same distance its partner was previously, resulting in an identical but reversed configuration, in position to be struck again by the cue ball from the opposite side.
In snooker and other British usages, a break of 50-99 points (100 points or more being called a century), which involves potting at least 12 consecutive balls (i.e. the last 3 reds with at least 2 blacks and a pink, followed by all the colours).
This is a term to describe 100 break points in a game of snooker.
Cut Throat is a game of pocket billiards created to support three or five players. Balls are assigned to each player, and the purpose is to sink all the opponent's balls first to eliminate the other players.
An instance of contact between balls, usually used in the context of describing an object ball contacting another object ball (e.g. "the two ball kissed off the twelve ball"), or in snooker the cue ball making contact with a ball after the initial contact with the object ball. If the player's intention was to cause two object balls to kiss (e.g. to pocket a shot ball after a ricochet off a stationary one), it is often called a kiss shot.
This is a shot in snooker where the cue ball follows a struck object into the pocket.
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 Rolling the Cheese and Cheese the Nine).
This term refers to a cue stick that is bent or warped, so that the straightness, or lack thereof, of the cue offers less than ideal play. This can occur from storing the cue in the wrong atmosphere, i.e. too warm or humid, or from the quality of wood used during construction. Some cues are coated with fiberglass, carbon fiber or graphite in order to avoid warping.
To apply chalk to the tip of your cue before a shot.
Used by itself often with "low" and "high": "that's a low-percentage shot for me", "I should really take the high-percentage one".