Vocabulary, Slang and Definitions

25 Random Essential Billiards Terms

Also (chiefly British) shot programme. The enumerated trick shots that must be performed in the fields of artistic billiards (70 pre-determined shots) and artistic pool (56 tricks in 8 "disciplines").
Nine Ball is a rotation game so a player must hit the lowest numbered ball first.
The object of the game is pocket the 9-ball on any legal shot.
This is a shot where the cue ball double kisses in order to direct the object ball toward the pocket.
The collar is the portion of the joint that is attached to the top of the forearm. This is often stainless steel, wood, ivory, or molded phenolic resin, but in any case, made out of a solid material. This portion of the cue is glued on and threaded to reinforce the pin at the end of the shaft, and to offer a stabilized shot out of its solid construction.
Usually set-up in non-verb form, sometimes setup in noun form particularly.
1.(Of a player or referee) to place the balls (and other items, if applicable, such as skittles) properly for the beginning of a game: "In eight-ball, properly setting up requires that the rear corners of the rack not have two stripes or two solids but one of each." For most pocket billiards games this is in a racked pattern, but the term is applicable more broadly than "rack", e.g. in carom billiards and in pocket games like bottle pool. Contrast layout.
2.(Of the game equipment) arranged properly for the beginning of a game: "set up and waiting for the break", "an improper set-up"
3.(Of a player, passively and specifically) to have good shape - to be in a favorable position for making a shot or other desired play ("is set-up on the 9", "could be set-up for the corner-pocket after this shot")
4.(Of a player, passively, generally, and chiefly US) to be in a favorable position for, and with a layout conductive to, a long run (UK: break) or complete run-out: "a crucial miss that left his opponent really set-up"; compare (chiefly British) "in the balls"
5.(Of a player, actively) to use position play to move one or more specific balls to specific locations with a specific goal in mind, usually pocketing (potting) a specific ball or getting an easy out, but possibly a safety, nurse or trap shot; in short, to get shape: "She set up on the 9-ball with a careful draw shot." The meaning can be inverted to indicate poor play on the part of the other player: "Oops, I just set you up for an easy win when I missed like that."
6.(Of a table layout) comparatively easy to completely run out, e.g. because of a lack of clusters or blocking balls: "looks like a nice set-up for a quick out", "this table's totally set up for you"
7.(Of cue ball position more specifically): having good shape - comparatively easy to use to some advantage, such as continuing a run (UK: break) or playing safe: "The cue ball's set up for an easy side pocket shot."
8.(Of a shot or strategy) the result of position play (careful or reckless): "Playing the 6 off the 8 was a great set-up to win", "That follow shot was a terrible set-up for the 6-ball."
9.(Of a hustler) to successfully convince a fish that one is not a very skilled player and that gambling on a game will be a good idea: "That guy totally set me up and took me for $200." Such a hustle is a setup or set-up.

1 - This is a shot in snooker where the cue ball follows a struck object into the pocket.

2- This is the male end of the joint located at the base of the shaft. This threaded piece, usually made of metal, connects the shaft with the forearm. The length, width, pitch and depth of threading of the pins vary from joint to joint, but most offer you a flat-faced wood-to-wood connection with the collar. This type of connection will deliver a softer hit. For a harder hit, some pins have a protruding tip without threads that directs the shaft concentrically with a pin that is buried in the collar at the joint. If you want to keep the pin of your shaft safe when your cue is dismantled, it is easy and important to use a joint protector that simply screws over your pin.

Chiefly British: The half of the table from which the break shot is taken. This usage is conceptually opposite that in North America, where this end of the table is called the head.
This is a style of playing a pool game with a partner playing on your team. You can either take turns or play in a tag team style. This works well when there are a lot of people around that want to play.
A form of team play in which two players compete against another team of two players in any given frame or match. In a doubles game, the first player from the breaking team is the only one who shoots during the opening inning, with control of the table passing to a member of the opposing team at the end of that inning, then upon the end of the opponent's inning to the doubles partner of the original player, and next to the second opponent, play proceeding in this doubly alternating manner until concluded. Contrast Scotch doubles.
A sleeve, fitted onto the lathed-down tip end of the cue, made from fiberglass, phenolic resin, brass, ivory, horn or antler, melamine, plastic, or other rigid material, upon which the cue tip is mounted and which protects the shaft wood from splitting from impact with the cue ball.
A bye is a missing team or player on a league schedule or tournament bracket. In other words, a person or team does not have an opponent that date (schedule) or round (tournament bracket). If a team or player has a bye on a scheduled date, they will not be playing that day. If a team or player has a bye on a tournament bracket, they automaticly advance to the next round without having to play another team or person.
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.
An intentionally amateurish stroke to disguise one's ability to play.
This is to lay down the money on the table in a betting game before play begins to ensure pay up at the end.
Describes a ball rolling along a rail in contact or near contact with it, or which makes multiple successive contacts with the rail.
Either to hit the balls hard with no intention in mind other than to get lucky (or 'hit-and-hope'), or to shoot hard at the money ball ball with the same intention. Compare slop and fluke.
As an adjective or compound noun: push-out. A rule in many games (most notably nine-ball, after and only after the break shot), allowing a player to "push out" the cue ball to a new position without having to contact any ball, much less pocket one or drive it to a cushion, but not counting any pocketed ball as valid (other foul rules apply, such as double hits, scratching the cue ball, etc.), with the caveat that the opponent may shoot from the new cue ball position or give the shot back to the pusher who must shoot from the new position. In nine-ball particularly, and derived games such as seven-ball and ten-ball, pocketing the money ball on a push-out results in that ball being respotted (which can be used to strategic advantage in certain circumstances, such as when the break leaves no shot on the ball-on, and failure to hit it would give the incoming player an instant-win combination shot on the money ball).
Chiefly American: The cushion on the head rail. Compare bottom cushion; contrast foot cushion.
A line, sometimes imaginary (especially in American pool), sometimes drawn on the cloth, that runs horizontally across the table from the second diamond (from the head rail) on one long rail to the corresponding second diamond on the other long rail. In most pool games, the opening break shot must be performed with the center (base) of the cue ball behind the head string (i.e. between the head string and head rail). The head string intersects the long string at the head spot, and delimits the kitchen (and, in European nine-ball, the outer boundary of the break box). The head string's position is always determined by the diamonds, in contrast to the similar but different baulk line, the position of which is determined by measurement from the bottom cushion (head cushion).
Accidentally causing the cue ball or any object ball to leave the table. It is normally a foul.
A shooter's body position and posture during a shot.
Actual wire or string with multiple beads strung (like an abacus) used for keeping score. Points "on the wire" are a type of handicap used, where a weaker player will be given a certain number of points before the start of the game.
Any mechanical aid that serves to extend the length of the player's cue, normally added to the end of the butt either by clipping around the end or screwing into the base. Though extensions are used for pool, it is more common in snooker because of the significantly larger table size.
In a tournament where players get limited time to make their shots (common in televised matches), an extension is extra time granted before making a shot; players have a limited number of extensions in each frame.
To disguise the level of one's ability to play in various ways such as using a lemonade stroke; intentionally missing shots; making an uneven game appear "close"; purposefully losing early, inconsequential games. Sandbagging is a form of hustling, and in handicapped leagues, considered a form of cheating. See also dump and on the lemonade.
The tip of your cue is the smallest but most important piece on all of the stick. Ranging between 12 mm and 14 mm depending on the taper of you shaft, the average and most common tip size is 13 mm. The tip is usually made from treated and compressed leather and is attached at the top of your cue by screw or glue to the ferrule. There are variances in cue tip resistance from soft to hard. The softer offering more chalk retention, and the harder offering more longevity and power transferred through your shot (the hardest, phenolic tips are often used on the break). Because the surface of the tip is beveled it offers you control on the spin and direction of the cue ball in your shot. To keep this control, it is important to scuff up the surface of your cue a little so as to enhance the chalk retention potential. In addition to keeping you tip chalked, you want avoid it mushrooming over the ends of the ferrule after too many impacts without refinement. To much use, and not enough care with proper tools can hinder your ability to master the control from your cue tip to your shot.
Principally British: In snooker, if a player wins all of the required frames in a match without conceding a frame to their opponent - for example, if a player wins a best-of-nine-frame match with a score of 5-0 - this is referred to as a "whitewash". This term is based on a similar term used in the card game of "patience" in the UK. However, it is not used in the context of a 1-0 winning scoreline in a match consisting of a single frame.