Definition of tangent line

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.

24 Random Essential Billiards Terms

The surface of the table used for play (often made with slate).
A British term (especially in snooker) for the splitting of a group of balls when another ball is sent into them, typically with the intent of deliberately moving them with the cue ball to develop them.
Used when describing perfect cue ball position play.
A highly abrasive tip tool used to shape an unreasonably flat new cue tip, or misshapen old one, into a more usable, consistently curved profile, most commonly the curvature of a nickel or dime (or equivalently sized non-US/Canadian coin) for larger and smaller pool tips, respectively. Similar to a scuffer, but deeper and rougher.
Netted or cupped pockets that do not return the balls to the foot end of the table by means of a gutter system or sloped surface beneath (they must instead be retrieved manually).
The normal phenomenon where the object ball is pushed in a direction very slightly off the pure contact angle between the two balls. Caused by the friction imparted by the first ball sliding past or rotating against the other ball.
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 is to intentionally foul by slightly moving the ball, or playing another type of illegally defensive shot in a game where the ball is just turned over to the other player. Like in one pocket, you still take the foul, but can leave the other player with a challenging shot.
This is a version of double elimination tournament play that splits the field of competitors into two brackets that come together for a single elimination championship game.
This is a shot where the cue ball follows directly behind the sunk object ball into the pocket right after it falls.
To determine the order of play, players (representing only themselves, or teams) each simultaneously shoot a ball from the kitchen (or in British games, from the baulk line) to the end rail and back toward the bottom rail. Whichever shooter's ball comes to rest closest to the bottom rail gets to choose who breaks the rack. It is permissible but not required for the lagged ball to touch or rebound from the bottom rail, but not to touch the side rails. Lagging is usually a two-party activity, though there are games such as cutthroat in which three players might lag. In the case of a tie, the tying shooters re-lag. The lag is most often used in tournament play or other competitions. In hard-break games like nine-ball and eight-ball the winner of the lag would normally take the break, while in soft-break games like straight pool would likely require the loser of the lag to break, since breaking would be a disadvantage.
Describes the propensity of a player losing small sums of money at gambling to suddenly sharply increase the stakes; often continuing to lose until broke. Compare Chasing one's money.
Same as gapper
This is the stick used to contact the cue ball in pool and billiards games. The cue stick is usually made of wood, features a special contact tip, and is usually tapered to slide through your hand. The price of these tools can range from oil change to transmission change depending on the quality of craftsmanship and design.
Chiefly British: bank shot played up and down the longer length of the table off a short rail and into a corner pocket, as opposed to the more common bank across the short length into a center pocket or corner.
A pool table spread in which the balls are extremely easily positioned for a run out, and where little movement of the cue ball on each shot is necessary to obtain position on the next.
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.
Used in snooker in reference to the position of the cue ball. It is above the object ball if it is off-straight on the baulk cushion side of the imaginary line for a straight pot (e.g. "he'll want to finish above the blue in order to go into the pink and reds"). It is also common to use the term high instead.
A shot played slowly and with heavy draw and follow-through so that the cue ball can be struck firmly but with a lot of the pace taken out, allowing more control than just a gentle tap that would travel as far. Also called "Drag Draw".
An abrasive tip tool used as a grinder to roughen the cue tip to better hold chalk after it has become hardened and smooth from repeated impacts with the cue ball. Tappers serve the same purpose, but are used differently. Similar to a shaper, but shallower and less rough.
A predetermined, fixed number of games players must win to win a match; "a race to seven" means whomever wins seven games first wins the match.
This is the portion of the butt of your cue just below the handle or wrap. This portion of the cue is made separately and often times cored out to ensure the proper weight balance within the full length of the cue. This portion of the cue is usually made with exotic wood that matches the wood in the forearm or in the points on the forearm. This section is used to highlight the design of the forearm, sometimes a re-creation, a reverse, or a rendition of the same pattern on a smaller scale.
When two or more object balls are frozen or nearly frozen, such that cue-ball contact with one object ball, without the necessity of great accuracy, will almost certainly pocket an intended object ball in the cluster. The most common form of dead arrangements are the dead combination or dead combo (a combination shot in which contact with the first object ball will pocket another one), and the dead kiss, in which contact with the first object ball will pocket it off of another one. See also wired.
Describing a ball that is safe because it is in close proximity to one or more other balls, and would need to be developed before it becomes pottable.