Glossary of Billiard Terms

From the 'Billiard Congress of America Official Rules and Records Book.

ANGLED. (Snooker, pocket games) When the corner of a pocket prevents a player shooting the cue ball directly at an object ball. (See corner-hooked)

ANGLE SHOT. (Pocket games) A shot that requires the cue ball to drive the object ball other than straight ahead. (See cut shot)

APEX OF TRIANGLE. (Pocket games) The position in the grouping of object balls that is on the foot spot; the front ball position of the pyramid or rack.

AROUND THE TABLE. (Carom games) Describes shots in which the cue ball contacts three or more cushions, usually including the two short cushions, in an effort to score.

BALANCE POINT. (General) The point on a cue at which it would remain level if held by a single support, usually about 18" from the butt end of the cue.

BALL IN HAND. (Pocket games) See cue ball in hand.

BALL ON. (Snooker) A colored (non-red) ball a player intends to legally pocket; same as on ball.

BANK SHOT. (Pocket games) A shot in which the object ball is driven to one or more cushions before it is pocketed; incidental contact as a ball moves along and adjacent to a cushion does not qualify as a cushion or bank. It is not an obvious shot and must be called in games requiring called shots. (See kick shot)

BAULK. (Snooker) The intervening space between the bottom cushion and the Baulk-line.

BAULK-LINE. (Snooker) A straight line drawn 29" from the face of the bottom cushion and parallel to it.

BED OF TABLE. (General) The flat, cloth-covered surface of the table within the cushions; the playing area exclusive of the cushions.

BILLIARD. (Carom games) A count or score; a successful shot.

BLIND DRAW. (General) A method used to determine pairings or bracketing of players in tournaments that assures totally random placement or pairing of contestants.

BOTTLE. (Pocket games) A specially shaped leather or plastic container used in various games. (Also called the shake bottle)

BOTTOM CUSHION. (Snooker) The cushion located at the head of a snooker table--closest to the D.

BREAK. (Pocket games) See open break and opening break shot.

BREAK. (Snooker) Total scored in one inning.

BREAKING VIOLATION. (Pocket games) A violation of special rules which apply only to the opening break shot of certain games. Unless specified in individual game rules, a breaking violation is not a foul.

BRIDGE. (General) The hand configuration that holds and guides the shaft-end of the cue during play. (See mechanical bridge)

BURST. (Forty-One Pocket Billiards) Scoring a total of more than 41 points.

BUTT OF CUE. (General) The larger end of a cue, opposite the tip. On a two-piece cue, the butt extends up to the joint.

CALL SHOT. (Pocket games) Requirement that a player designate, in advance of each shot, the ball to be made and the pocket into which it will be made. In calling the shot, it is NEVER necessary to indicate details such as the number of cushions, banks, kisses, caroms, etc. The rules of "Bank Pool" are an exception.

CALLED BALL. (Pocket games) The ball the player has designated to be pocketed on a shot.

CALLED POCKET. (Pocket games) The pocket which a player has designated a ball to be shot.

CAROM. (General) To bounce off or glance off an object ball or cushion; a shot in which the cue ball bounces off one ball into another is termed a carom.

CAROM, SCORING. (General) Contact by the cue ball with object balls, the bottle or cushions in such a way that a legal score is made, according to specific game rules.

CENTER SPOT. (General) The exact center point of a table's playing surface.

CHALK. (General) A dry, slightly abrasive substance that is applied to the cue tip to help assure a non-slip contact between the cue tip and the cue ball.

CHUCK NURSE. (Straight Rail Billiards) A scoring technique used when one object ball rests against the cushion and the second object ball is to one side of the first ball and away from the cushion. Cue ball strikes the object ball at the cushion so that the cue ball just comes back to touch (carom) the second object ball without moving it out of position for a similar subsequent shot.

CLEAN BANK. (Bank Pocket Billiards) A shot in which the object ball being played does not touch any other object balls (i.e., no kisses, no combinations).

CLEAR BALL. (Carom games) The all-white ball, devoid of any markings, used in carom games. (See spot ball)

COMBINATION. (Pocket games) Shot in which the cue ball first strikes a ball other than the one to be pocketed, with the ball initially contacted in turn striking one or more other balls in an effort to score.

COMBINATION ON. (Pocket games) Two or more balls positioned in such a way that a ball can be driven into a called pocket with a combination shot; often called a "dead combo" or an "on combo."

COMBINATION ON. (Snooker) See plant.

CONTACT POINT. (General) The precise point of contact between the cue ball and the object ball when the cue ball strikes the object ball.

CORNER-HOOKED. (Pocket games, Snooker) When the corner of a pocket prevents shooting the cue ball in a straight path directly to an object ball, the cue ball is corner-hooked; same as angled.

COUNT. (General) A score; a successful shot.

COUNT, THE. (General) The running score at any point during a player's inning in games where numerous points are scored successively.

CROSS CORNER. (Pocket games) Term used to describe a bank shot that will rebound from a cushion and into a corner pocket.

CROSS SIDE. (Pocket games) Term used to describe a bank shot that will rebound from a cushion and into a side pocket.

CROSS TABLE SHOT. (Carom games) Shot in which scoring is accomplished by driving the cue ball across the table between the long cushion.

CROTCH. (Carom games) The corner area of a carom table in straight-rail billiards in which a player may score no more than three successive counts with the balls before driving at least one object ball out of the area. The four crotches are defined as those spaces within crotch lines drawn between first diamond on the end rail to the second diamond on the side rail.

CRUTCH. (General) Slang term for the mechanical bridge.

CUE. (General) Tapered device, usually wooden, used to strike the cue ball to execute carom or pocket billiard shots. (Also called cue stick)

CUE BALL. (General) The white, unnumbered ball that is always struck by the cue during play.

CUE BALL IN HAND. (Pocket games) Cue ball may be put into play anywhere on the playing surface.

CUE BALL IN HAND BEHIND THE HEAD STRING. (Pocket games) Cue ball may be put into play anywhere between the head string and the cushion on the head end of the table not in contact with an object ball.

CUE BALL IN HAND WITHIN THE D. (Snooker) See cue ball in hand within the half-circle.

CUE BALL IN HAND WITHIN THE HALF-CIRCLE. (Snooker) The cue ball is in hand within the half-circle when it has entered a pocket or has been forced off the table. The base of the cue ball may be placed anywhere within or on the half-circle. It remains in hand until the player strikes the cue ball with the tip of the cue or a foul is committed while the ball is on the table.

Glossary of Billiard Terms Page 2