Pool and Billiards Glossary

All of the following definitions are by D.W. "Diamond Dave" Thayer, Author of the Hot Shots Plus 6 Book Series


Addressing Cue Ball

In shooting stance with tip of cue pointed at cue ball.

Angle

Position of cue ball in relation to target ball and path a ball takes after coming off another ball or a rail.

Angle of Incidence

A balls path going into a rail. Also called “angle of approach.”

Angle of Rebound

A balls path coming off a rail.

Back Spin

A ball rotating opposite to its forward movement.

Bad hit

A foul caused by not making a good, legal hit on intended target ball.

Ball in Hand

Cue ball can be placed anywhere on table by shooter, by hand.

Ball Side English

English put on cue ball on side toward object ball as opposed to rail side.

Bank Shot

Object ball contacts one or more rails before entering a pocket.

Bed

Flat playing surface of table.

Big ball

Oversize cue ball on some coin-operated tables.

Billiard Shot

Cue ball glances off an object ball into target ball.

Billiards

Game played with a cue ball and two object balls on a table with no pockets.

Bottom English

Used on draw shots.  Causes reverse rotation of cue ball after striking object ball.

Break Out

Scattering a cluster of balls.

Break Shot

Opening shot of any pool game.

Bridge

The forward support of cue stick shaft for cue tip guidance.  Can be shooter’s forward hand or the mechanical bridge.

Butt

The large end of cue stick.

Call

Naming a specific pocket that a specific ball is to be shot into.

Carom

Glancing an object ball off another object ball, also called a “Kiss shot.”

Center Spot

Exact center of table.

Cheating the Pocket

The object ball is shot into either side of pocket rather then center pocket to create an angle off the object ball for the cue ball.

Clock Face

Visualizing cue ball as a clock when applying English, topspin and draw, i.e., tip strikes 3 o’clock, 12 o’clock, 6 o’clock.

Collision Induced

Friction between cue ball and object ball causing angle change.

Combination Shot

Shooting an object ball into the target object ball.

Contact Point

The point on object ball actually touched by cue ball.  Other than a dead center strike, it is always a point different than point of aim.

Corners of Confinement

Areas within one diamond distance from corner pockets.

Cribbage

Pool game in which shooter must pocket a pair of balls in succession that, when added, total fifteen (15).

Cross Corner

Bank shot into corner pocket Cross Side:  Bank shot into side pocket.

Crutch

Mechanical bridge.

Cue

Short name for “cue stick.”

Curve

Cue ball path when struck from above with side English.

Cushion

Rubber strip attached to rail surrounding playing area of table.

Cut Shot

Any shot at an angle.

Dead Shot

Shot that cannot be missed off a frozen combination or carom.

Diamonds

Inlays on the rail.

Dirty pool

Using unsportsmanlike, underhanded, illegal tactics, in trying to cheat.

Double Kiss

The tip of cue strikes object ball twice during the same shot (a foul).

Drag Shot

A long shot with cue ball calling for low strike on cue ball to slow it down after fast start off cue tip.

Draw shot

A low cue tip strike on cue ball causing a backward rotation after hitting object ball.

Duck

A simple shot that cannot be missed.

Eight ball

A game in which one player shoots solid balls and the other player shoots stripes.  “8 ball” is last and who ever pockets it, wins.

Elevated bridge

Raising of bridge hand up on fingertips to shoot over another ball.

End zone

Area of table bed along an end rail within one Diamond distance.

English

Sideway spin of cue ball left or right by an off center cue tip strike.

Feather

Very thin cut on object ball.

Ferrule

One inch band of white plastic that supports cue tip.

Five system

A diamond banking or kicking system assigning rail of origin corner pocket the number “five” (5) and striking a side rail first.

Follow

Applying top spin on cue ball that creates forward movement after contacting an object ball.

Follow through

Cue tip, after striking cue ball continues well.beyond space originally occupied by the object ball.

Foot end of table

A point marked, being two diamonds up from foot rail at dead center.

Foot Rail

The end rail where object balls are racked.

Foot Spot

Where the first, front object ball is placed in a rack.

Foot string

Visualized line at foot rail end of table, two diamonds up and straight through foot spot.

Force draw shot

Applying maximum draw on cue ball to break up clusters or travel full length of cable.

Force follow shot

Extreme top spin applied to cue ball with a limp wrist.

Foul

Any “scratch.”  Cue ball in pocket, an illegal shot or safety.

Frozen

Any ball in contact with rail or another ball.

Full ball

A center to center hit by cue ball on object ball.

Good hit

Cue ball strikes proper, intended object ball.

Grip

Your shooting, backhand hold on cue stick.

Half Ball Hit

Outer edge of object ball is aim point for center point of cue ball.

Hanger

Object ball on very edge (lip) of pocket.

Head Rail

The end of table that break shots are shot from.

Head Spot

Spot in middle of visualized Head string

Head String

Imaginary line that closes in the “kitchen area” of table.

Hooked

Another object ball or rail corner blocks path to target ball. (also called “snookered”).

House Rules

Rules of the establishment where you are playing pool that supersedes all other rules.

Hug the Rail

Frozen to rail ball, rolling against rail all the way into a corner pocket. 

In Hand

After a foul, new shooter may place cue ball anywhere on table for the ensuing shot.

Inside English

Side spin applied to same side of cue ball as intended shot direction.

Jack Up

Raising bridge hand upon fingertips to shoot over a ball.

Jump Shot

Shooting downward into cue ball causing it to rebound over an object ball.

Jump Stick

A short, stiff cue stick used for jump shot

Key Ball

The last ball before the 8 or 9 ball and used for   obtaining position on the winning ball.

Kick Shot

Shooting cue ball into one or more rails before it contacts an object ball

Kiss

The same as carom shot.  Two balls collided.

Kitchen

Area of table from the head string back to head rail.  The shooting area of origin for cue ball on break shots.

Lag

Used to determine which player gets break shot. Ball shot from head rail to foot rail and back to head rail.  Closest ball to head rail wins.

Leave

A difficult shot left by player for opponent (or a good shot).

Lie

Location of all balls on table (including cue ball) revealing the lie (lay out) of the table.

Long

Bank or kick shot missing to far side of target.

Masse‘

An almost vertical downward stroke on cue ball creating extreme cue ball curve.

Mechanical Bridge

A long handled shooting tool used when cue ball can not be reached comfortably.

Miscue

Cue tip slips off cue ball on contact.

Nap

Upper part of tablecloth that wears down with usage.

Natural Position

(see ”No- Brainer”)  The natural roll of cue ball after contact with an object ball, no English, etc. to a perfect position point on table for next shot.

Nine Ball

A game of rotation, using only balls one (1) through nine (9).  Player pocketing nine ball wins the game.

Nip Draw

A quick, short, downward punch stroke at 6:00.

No Brainer

Good position obtained by natural angle and roll of cue ball on previous shot. No need for English, etc.

Non-Rewarder

No possible shot available for shooter after making a fantastic shot.

Object Ball

Any ball numbered one (1) through fifteen (15)

Open Table

In Eight ball, no player as yet has choice of the solids or striped object balls.

Outside English

Striking cue ball side opposite to angle of cut on object ball.

Over cut

Object ball cut too fine (thin), thereby missing the shot.

Picquet

A masse‘ shot causing cue ball to shoot forward and then draw back without contacting an object ball.

Plus System (also known as plus 2 system)

A part of diamond system play when end rail is always struck first.

Point of Aim

Where center of ball is aimed to cause correct contact points to meet.

Position Play

While in process of shooting a shot causing   cue ball to roll to a good playable point relative to the next shot.

Punch

A jab like shot creating slide effect on cue ball into object ball.

Push Out

Only after nine ball break shot.  Shooter may roll cue ball to anywhere on table and not contact any object ball.  Opponent may shoot from that point or give shot turn back to shooter.

Push Shot

Cue tip stays in contact with cue ball all or most of the way through object ball contact.(a foul).

Pyramid

The rack of balls before break shot.

Rack

The wood or plastic triangle used to enclose all object balls in to perfect triangle before break shot and also the name given the racked balls

Rail

Also known as “bank,” containing “bumper,” “pockets” and “inlaid diamonds.”  Surrounds bed of table (playing field).

Rail Bridge

Hand bridge placed on rail for on and off rail shots.

Rail Shot

Ball frozen to cushion.

Rail Track

The line on playing area of table that runs along the inside of the four rails.  It fades with use.

Regulation Table

Standard billiard parlor table 9’x 4 1/2’.

Reverse English

Side spin on the same side of cue ball as direction of shot.

Roll Off

Ball veers off directed line due to imperfect table bed, etc.

Rotation

Playing all 15 object balls in numerical order from one (1) ball through 15 ball.

Run

Number of shots made in succession. (Run out = player pockets remainder of his object balls on table).

Running English

Inside cue ball side spin creating spin speed and offsetting cushion resistance.

Safety

A defensive shot, to leave opponent with no open shot or a difficult shot.

Scratch

A Foul.  Cue ball goes into a pocket or fails to make legitimate contact with object ball.

Set Up

The layout of your shots as you study the table.

Shaft

The thinner, tip half of cue stick.

Shape

(See Position).

Shark

Player using various tactics to throw opponent off his game and/or to miss shots.

Sharking

Underhanded tactics of the shark.

Shooter

Good at making shots but not necessarily good at all-around play i.e; shape, consistency, etc. Also the player who is at the table.

Short

A missed bank shot to near rail side of pocket.

Slate

Bed of table below felt cloth.

Slop Shot

A lucky, unplanned, pocketed shot.

Snookered

See “hooked.”

Solids

The one (1) through seven (7) balls (also called small ones).

Speed Control

Important part of good position play, getting cue ball to proper spot for next shot.

Spot Ball

Object ball placed on a mark near foot rail.

Stop Shot

Cue ball remains absolutely motionless after object ball contact.

Straight Pool

Any ball may be shot, as long as the shot is called. Each pocketed ball, counts as one point and is played until one player reaches pre-determined point total, i.e; 25 points, 50, 100,150.

String

The line visualized across table from 2 diamond to opposite 2 diamond at the head of table and foot of table.

Stripes

The nine (9) through fifteen (15) balls (or big ones  when playing game of Eight Ball.

Stroke

The total” shooting arm” swing, including elbow, wrist, hand.

Stun Shot

Sliding cue ball in to object ball with no forward or backward spin.

Swerve

Movement of ball to right or left due to an off center strike.

Thin Cut

Very edge of cue ball contacts outer edge of object ball.

Through Shot

Top spin follow on cue ball at straight on object ball, knocking obstructing balls out of its path and continuing roll across table.

Throw Shot

Friction created between cue ball and object ball to alter path of object ball.

Tip

A round leather piece attached to cue stick ferule.

Track

A numbered line on table to get cue ball or object ball into a specific numbered path to a target.

Track Systems

The corner “5” for 3 rails and subtract.  The plus 2 for 2 rails and add.

Umbrella Shot

Shooting under (behind) a ball and having cue ball or an object ball glance off object ball and into pocket.

Under Cut

A missed cut shot due to too much cue ball strike on object ball.

V- Bridge

Open hand bridge with no overlapping finger on cue shaft.

Zone

An area in position play that shooter attempts to send cue ball during a shot, to get shape/position on next shot.

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