Vocabulary, Slang and Definitions

25 Random Essential Billiards Terms

Either of the two longer rails of a billiards or pocket billiards table, bisected by a center pocket and bounded at both ends by a corner pocket. Also called a long rail.
A type of rest, with a straight shaft and "x"-shaped head for resting the cue upon.
When you have completed a shot by pocketing a ball into a pocket.
This refers to the cluster of balls remaining in a similar position to where they were within the break
Also bar box, pub table, tavern table. Distinctive pool tables found in bars/pubs/taverns, and often in various other venues such as family entertainment centers and arcade rooms at bowling alleys. They are almost always coin-operated and smaller than tables found in pool halls. Typical bar boxes are 3.5 ft (1.1 m) × 7 ft (2.1 m).
Also pills, tally balls and shake balls. Small, round markers typically numbered 1 through 15 or 16, which are placed in a bottle for various random assignment purposes, such as in a tournament roster, to assign order of play in a multiplayer game, or to assign particular balls to players in games such as kelly pool.
Also known as Free-stroking. This is slang for when a player begins to play untroubled and relaxed because they have built up a substantial lead.
Also piquet. Either a massé shot with no english, or a shot in which the cue stick is steeply angled, but not held quite as vertical as it is in full massé.
Shooting at an object ball that is already in motion at the moment of shooting and cue ball impact; illegal in most games and usually only seen in exhibition/trick shots.
Toward the foot of the table.
The pocket in snooker that is closest to the green spot.
The ACS Canadian affiliate organization, the Canadian Cue Sport Association.
This is a shot on the cue ball that will push through to a frozen ball on the cue ball. If the contact is made on the object ball while the cue stick is still contacting, essentially pushing the second ball, then it is usually considered a foul.
Also spot-stroke, spot hazard. A form of nurse shot in English billiards, in which the red ball, which must be spotted to a specific location after every time it is potted before another shot is taken, is potted in such as way as to leave the cue ball in position to repeat the same shot, permitting a skilled player to rack up many points in a single break (series of shots in one visit).
When the cue ball is tucked behind the corner of a pocket or behind other object balls against a rail, therefore not allowing a direct shot at the object ball without the cue bouncing off the corner of the rail.
A term also used to mean when the object ball you must hit next is hidden behind other balls against a rail and you are not able to get a clean hit (without hitting other object balls first) on it. e.g. "You hooked me".
A player skilled at very thin cut shots, and shots in which a ball must pass cleanly through a very narrow space (such as the cue ball between two of the opponent's object balls with barely enough room) to avoid a foul and/or to pocket a ball. Such shots may be referred to as "surgery", "surgical shots", "surgical cuts", etc. (chiefly US, colloquial). See also feather (US) or snick (UK).
Also (chiefly British) programme. Short for shot program. 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").
When two objects balls are lined up so that you aim to pocket the nearest object ball, the second object ball will pocket. "That was an easy combination shot, the six ball was wired to the four ball". Also wired combination/combo, wired kiss.
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.
The way in which a player holds the butt end of the cue stick.
The wrap of the cuestick where the hand is placed, also known as the "grip area."
A fast paced offensive game similar to 9-ball but only using balls numbered 1 through 7.
Pocketing the 7-ball wins the game. Under the current pro rules of 7-ball, any missed shot gives your opponent ball-in-hand.
This is when you strike a cue ball off center to gain control on the movement on the cue ball.
Chiefly American: Also known as side spin, english (which is usually not capitalized) is spin placed on the cue ball when hit with the cue tip to the left or right of the ball's center. English has a marked effect on cue ball rebound angle off cushions (though not off object balls), and is thus crucial for gaining shape; and can be used to "throw" an object ball slightly off its otherwise expected trajectory, to cheat the pocket, and for other effects. "English" is sometimes used more inclusively, to colloquially also refer to follow and draw. In combination one could say bottom-right english, or like the face of a clock (4 o'clock english). The British and Irish do not use this term, instead preferring "side".
This is a simple method of gambling where bets are determined between each game instead of playing matches.
This is a type of shot where the cue ball goes off the rail before it heads to contact the object ball, thus giving the cue better position in some shots.