Learn Billiards Terms and Master the Language of the Baize!

a short list of important billiards terms

Embarking on the thrilling journey into the world of billiards can be both exciting and daunting, especially when you’re confronted with a lexicon that seems to have a language of its own. Fear not, fellow cue enthusiasts! In this comprehensive blog post on billiards terms, we’ve crafted a definitive glossary that serves as your trusty guide through the nuanced terrain of billiards terminology. Whether you’re a seasoned player looking to brush up on your lingo or a novice eager to dive into the fascinating realm of cues and cushions, this glossary will be your compass in navigating the language of the baize. So, chalk up your cue, take a deep breath, and let’s break into the world of billiards jargon together!

Don’t miss our post on how to properly rack the balls for an 8-ball game.

  • Apex: The front ball in the pyramid or rack.
  • Bank shot: When the object ball hits one or more cushions before entering a pocket. It does not qualify as a bank shot if the ball travels adjacent to a rail.
  • Baulk line: A straight line near the bottom of the table, used in snooker.
  • Bed of the table: The inner surface area of the table—the felted area.
  • Break: The opening shot or the total points scored in an inning (snooker).
  • Bridge: An accessory for assisting with long-table shots.
  • Called shot/ball: When a player announces which ball/pocket they are aiming for; the shot is disqualified if the player strikes the wrong ball or pockets in the wrong place.
  • Clean bank: The object ball does not touch any other balls on its way into the pocket.
  • Combination: The cue ball strikes an object ball into another object ball to score either the last contacted or both contacted balls.
  • Cue: The wooden shaft used for striking balls.
  • Cue ball: The white ball is directly struck by the cue.
  • Cushion: The rubber borders on the inside of the rails.
  • Dead ball: When the cue ball transfers all speed to its object, causing it to move very little after contact.
  • English: Sidespin used to change the roll of the cue or object ball.
  • Feather shot: A shot where the cue ball grazes the object ball.
  • Follow shot: A shot where the cue ball is struck above the center, causing a forward after spin.
  • The foot of the table: The area of the table where balls are racked at the beginning of a game.
  • Foul: An infraction of the rules—often penalized.
  • Game ball: The shot that wins the game.
  • Head of the table: The area of the table from which the break shot occurs.
  • Jump shot: When the cue ball or object ball comes off the table but remains in the bed.
  • Masse: A significant curve shot made by elevating the cue and shooting downward.
  • Miscue: A stroke that results in missing the cue ball.
  • Rails: The sides of the table. A rail shot happens when a ball is touching one of the rails.
  • Push shot: The cue tip keeps contact with the cue ball longer than is legal.
  • Split hit: When the first ball of contact cannot be determined.
  • Squeeze shot: A shot made near a crowded pocket.

As we wrap up our journey through the intricate language of billiards, I hope this glossary has served as a valuable resource in demystifying the terminology that surrounds the world of cues, balls, and pockets. From understanding the subtleties of English to deciphering the nuances of bank shots, each term in this glossary contributes to the rich tapestry of the game we all love.

Remember, becoming fluent in billiards speak is a gradual process that accompanies your growth as a player. So, whether you’re aiming for the perfect break or simply honing your skills on the felt, may this glossary be your go-to companion on your billiards adventures.

As you continue to sharpen your cue skills, let the language of billiards become second nature. Share this glossary with your fellow enthusiasts, and together, let’s keep the cues rolling and the pockets echoing with the satisfying clack of balls meeting their mark. Until the next break, may your shots be true and your games be filled with the joy that comes with mastering the language of the baize!


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