8 Ball Pool Dictionary

The 8 Ball Pool Dictionary features every Pool word in existence and most of the 8-Ball Phrases you’ll ever hear – at a crucial time in the game’s history!

English Pool is becoming more and more popular, so to quote a commentator from the 2019 World Championships “8 Ball is the fastest growing sport in the UK”. Money match streams are showing up everywhere you look. Both the BBC and FreeSports are broadcasting the IPA tournaments. Consequently Freesports are also showing the TAOM Shootout. In addition, The Supreme Series is all all live on YouTube and Social Media. As a result, thousands of players and fans are tuning in. Meanwhile, more viewers means bigger sponsors for the players and the events.

Finally, this Glossary is a handy guide for some of the commentary vocab that could stump some viewers. The 8 Ball Pool Dictionary gives you all of the terms, phrases and sayings you will need to erase any confusion. Keeping things simple and letting you enjoy your pool. 🎱


  • 8-Ball (An): a full clearance of all 7 colours and the black ball on your very first visit to the table in that frame.
  • 8-Ball (The): the Black Ball, which is also the last ball to be potted in sequence.


  • Backspin: applying Backspin results in Screw.
  • Bag: See Pocket.
  • Baize: the felt that covers the bed of the pool table.
  • Ball in Hand: is when the cue ball is placed on the top cushion following a foul. The player in play may then position the cue ball anywhere behind the baulk line to play their next shot.
  • Bank: See Double.
  • Barney Rubble: slang term for a Double. Named after a cartoon character from the Flintstones.
  • Baulk line: the Line that runs across the width of the table at either 20-25% of the full length of the table bed.
  • Baulk: the area (20 or 25%) at the head of the table, marked by the Baulk Line.
  • Billiard Shot: a shot where a ball is played off (deflected) another ball targeting a pocket.
  • Blackball: a rule set founded during the early 00’s and adopted by the IPA.  Quick rundown: 2 shots don’t carry, no deliberate fouls and the combination shot is legal.
  • Black ball: See The 8-Ball.
  • Blocker: an obstacle. An object ball that blocks the path of another object ball from reaching the pocket, stopping it from being potted into a given pocket.
  • Blue Spot: primarily only seen in snooker the blue spot is sometimes used as a reference in pool. The Blue Spot refers to the centre of the table.
  • Bottled it: used when a player misses a relatively simple shot, See also Lost Their Head.
  • Break and Run: the American equivalent of a Break Dish.
  • Break Dish: when a Player breaks off and completes a clearance without allowing the opponent to visit the table.
  • Bridge: a player’s bridge hand is the hand that is placed on the table and is primarily used to steady the delivery of the cue.
  • Buckets: used to describe pockets that appear to be larger in size and more forgiving.
  • Butt: the bottom section of the cue. The heaviest part of the cue.


  • Cannon: sending one object ball into another to either disrupt them or pot one of them is a cannon.
  • Chalk: chalk is applied to the cue tip to stop it sliding off the cue ball during contact (see mis-cue).
  • Cheating the Pocket: See Pinching the Pocket.
  • Chicken Wing: a bad habit displayed when a player brings their elbow out away from their body during a shot. This is a habit that players may perform when they believe they’ve missed a shot to try and guide it the ball more to the other side.   
  • Chinese Snooker: is sometimes used to describe a situation where cueing is hampered due to having to cue over the top of an object ball to strike down into the white ball by Jacking Up.
  • Cocked Hat Double: a shot where a player hits the object ball into 3 subsequent cushions and pots it into the middle pocket.
  • Combination Shot: a Shot where a player pots 2 or more balls in one shot.
  • Containing Safety: is when a player has very few options so plays a shot with the intention of temporarily stopping their opponent.
  • Cue: the equipment used to play shots in pool, often made of timber in the UK.
  • Cue Action: the technique of how the cue is delivered by the player, comprising of elements such as fluidity and motion.
  • Cue Ball: the white ball is the ball struck by the player’s cue is often referred to as the cue ball. The cue ball is sometimes slightly smaller than the rest of the balls at 1 7/8 inches as oppose to 2 inches.
  • Cushions: See Rails.
  • Cut Break: is a when a player breaks by striking the second ball down instead of the head ball.
  • Cut: any shot played that is not at a straight angle, i.e. to either side of the object ball – is known as a cut.


  • Decider: the final frame in which the match has gone all the way to the end, see also Hill-Hill.
  • Deflection Angle: the angle at which the cue ball comes off at after impact with an object ball.
  • Dish: when a player completes a clearance.  See also Break Dish or Reverse Dish.
  • Dolly:  See Sitter.
  • Dot-to-Dot: taken from a Children’s drawing book, dot-to-dot is when a player has a simple finish with no difficult pots or positional shots.
  • Double Kiss: is when the cue ball contacts an object ball twice in quick succession (almost instantly), often after deflecting back off the rail.
  • Double: when playing an object ball into the rail first before it coming back in the opposite direction, usually targeting a pocket.
  • Drag Shot: is a shot played with bottom spin in such a way that the cue ball pace is slowed, used to keep close-control.
  • Draw: the American term for Screw.
  • Dry: a break from which no ball is potted, “come up dry”.


  • EBPF: English Blackball Pool Federation.
  • English – often used more in American Pool but English is the term used to describe any spin imparted on the ball, whether that be Topspin, Backspin or Side-spin.
  • EPA: English Pool Association (Old/Pub Rules & World Rules).


  • Feathering: the act of feathering the white ball is a natural part of many a player’s cue action, muscle memory is used to guide the cue along the line before final delivery. Some players feather the cue ball once, some may feather it 5 times. Each player is different.  Occasionally, a player may refer to feathering as a foul stroke if they accidentally misjudge and touch the cue ball before final delivery.
  • Ferrule: the brass part of the cue which holds the tip and also acts a shock absorber to prevent the shaft timber from warping.  Not to be confused with the Hollywood actor Will.
  • Flick: See Kiss.
  • Fluffed it: slang for a player missing a relatively easy shot.
  • Fluke: is a shot when a player receives a lucky outcome unintentionally, e.g. a player aims a ball in one corner pocket but it hits the jaw and ends up going into the opposite corner pocket.
  • Follow: when Top is applied to the cue ball to allow it to follow the object ball after contact.
  • Foul Snooker: used in both Blackball and World Rules, the Foul Snooker comes into play when the player cannot see (hit) both extreme sides of any of their remaining colours. In this scenario, calling “Foul Snooker” will allow either a Free Ball or Ball in Hand.
  • Free Ball: after a foul shot in some rule sets, a player is allowed to opt for any ball on his very first shot if he deems it beneficial to do so. For example, if the player is on reds, they may play a yellow on their first shot following an opponent’s foul. 
  • Fudging: Snookering.  See Snooker.


  • GOAT: The Greatest Of All Time.
  • Good Stick: players also use the phrase he/she is a good stick, which means a player with good ability.


  • Hampered: See Chinese Snooker.
  • Hill-Hill: is when both players are only one frame away from victory.
  • Hit and Hope: a shot played when a player can’t find a better option so just lashes into them and hopes for a Fluke.
  • Hole: See Pocket.
  • Hustler: a Good Stick who plays for money, often losing the first few games to give the opposition a false sense of security before upping the ante and taking home the bacon.


  • In-Off: is when the Cue Ball is unintentionally potted (resulting in a foul) after contact with the object ball. The Cue Ball has gone in – off another ball.
  • IPA: International Pool Association (Blackball Rules).


  • Jacking Up: when a player raises the butt of the cue. 
  • Jaw: the Jaws of the pocket are the points of the rails that meet the pockets. Each pocket has a jaw either side it.
  • Jawed: if a player has “jawed” a shot they have missed the pot by hitting too much of the jaw OR they have left the cue ball in the jaws of the pocket, potentially snookering them on the next ball. 


  • Kick Shot: when playing the cue ball off a rail first before hitting the intended object ball.
  • Kick: used to describe a bad contact between two balls, usually the cue ball and object ball when foreign matter (e.g. chalk debris) interferes at the point of contact.
  • Kiss: a Kiss is similar to a Cannon but more often used to reference a slight contact instead of a fuller contact.
  • Knuckle: See Jaw.


  • Lag: used to determine who will break-off first. Each player plays a ball up and down the table off one rail, the ball that finishes closest to the baulk rail wins.
  • Layout: See Spread.
  • Line of the Shot: the line that the cue must be delivered along in order to execute a given shot.
  • Lost Their Head: if a player has “Lost their head” they have lost their composure and likely reached a point of no return during that game.


  • Mapping: used to describe the planning of the route when planning to finish the frame at that visit. 
  • Masse Shot: See Swerve Shot.
  • Miscue: is when the tip slides off the cue ball during contact, often resulting in a foul.


  • On the Hill: a player is deemed to be “on the hill” in a match when they are just one frame away from victory.
  • Open Table: the term given to the opening stages of a frame before either player has selected a colour set, i.e. a player can still opt for either reds or yellows.   


  • Pattern: See Mapping and Routes.
  • Pinching the Pocket: is when a specific part of the pocket is aimed at. Also called Cheating the Pocket.
  • Plain Ball: refers to the centre-ball striking of the cue ball, i.e. no English.
  • Plant: is a shot made by playing one or more balls into each other in such a way that the last ball in sequence is potted.
  • Plum: when a player lands in the perfect position for their next shot in sequence they are said to have landed plum.
  • Pocket: the sections of the table in which the balls can be potted into, English 8 Ball Tables contain 6 pockets.
  • Pool Gods: A higher power often referred to by players regarding both good and bad luck during a game.
  • Pro Cups: a set of tournament pool balls preferred for big events/matches distinguished by a cue ball containing 3 red dots and an 8-ball with a wide black stripe through its’ centre and two white edges.
  • Punch: is a method of cue delivery. It occurs when the cue is stopped immediately upon contact with the cue ball. Most commonly used to execute Stun Shots.


  • Rack: a rack refers to the initial formation of the Triangle or Diamond of Pool Balls, before the break. 
  • Rails: the areas between each pocket which essentially act as a barrier to keep the balls on the table. Also known as Cushions.
  • Rattled: a Rattled ball is one which has failed to be potted because it has struck both jaws of the pocket.
  • Reverse Dish: a Reverse Dish is when a player clears the table on their first visit to the table after their opponent’s break-off shot.
  • Reverse Side: reverse side is applied side that goes against the natural angle of the shot.  If the angle goes to the left then reverse side would be right-hand side – and vice versa. 
  • Roll In: a Roll In is an easy shot where the object ball is close to the pocket and the cue ball need only be rolled in to it.  Also known as a Tap In.
  • Route: the plan of order or sequence of balls a player intends to play to win a frame. 
  • Running Side: running Side is applied side that goes with the natural angle of the shot. So, if the angle goes to the left the running side will be left-hand side – and vice versa.


  • Safety: when a player plays a defensive shot with the intent of stopping their opponent from winning the frame.
  • Scotch Doubles: a frame in which player’s play 2 vs 2 and take alternate shots instead of traditional visits, requiring more effective teamwork.
  • Screw: screw is when bottom spin is put on the cue ball to make it come back after contact with the object ball.
  • Shaft: the top section of timber contained in a cue.  Easier to identify on a 2-piece cue as the length containing the tip.
  • Side-spin: used to describe either left-hand or right-hand spin.
  • Sitter: an easy shot.
  • Skill Shot: See Combination Shot.
  • Slack Rack: a slack-rack describes the initial set-up where all of the balls in the rack weren’t tight, which results in a less effective split off the break. Less commonly known as a loose rack.
  • Slate: the Slate is the material which the pool table bed is made from. 
  • Sledgehammer:  a Monster Break!
  • Slide: slide is the term used to describe the angle at which a ball comes off the rail at, when the angle is acute. Moreover, Slide is a variable that needs judging by the player.
  • Snatch: a shot where the cue isn’t delivered through the cue ball. A rough delivery sometimes caused by tension in the cue arm or being under pressure. Also known as Jab or Stab.  Also, not to be mistaken for the British Film starring Brad Pitt.
  • Snooker: a shot played to stop the opponent from directly hitting any of their object balls.
  • Spread: most commonly used after all the balls come to rest following the break. A spread is favourable when one colour set has all of its balls unobstructed. Resulting in an easier route to the clearance.
  • Stab: See Snatch.
  • Stance:  a player’s stance is the position of their body during a shot, the stance is primarily important for stability and comfort.
  • Stick: stick is another term for Cue. 
  • Stun: striking the cue ball either in the centre or just below to make the cue ball stop dead after impact with the object ball.
  • Stun-Run: striking the cue ball just above centre to allow it to follow the object ball after a brief stun – a combination of a Follow shot and a Stun shot.
  • Swerve Shot: when a player curves the cue ball around an obstacle before hitting the intended object ball.


  • Tap In: See Roll In.
  • Throw: Throw is when the cue ball or object ball is thrown off it’s natural alignment due to friction or side spin. See playing with side spin.
  • Tip Tap: used to describe a defensive playing style based on Safety and slow play.
  • Tip: the leather part of the cue used to strike the cue ball and the section that requires chalk.
  • Total Snooker: used in both Blackball and World Rules, the Total Snooker Rule is used when a player is snookered, to alleviate them from having to hit a cushion after contact with their object ball. The player must enforce this rule before they play the shot by communicating the words “Total Snooker” to the referee.
  • Topping it or Top it Through: See Follow.
  • Topspin: applying Topspin to a ball, results in Follow.
  • Tweak: See Twitch.
  • Twitch: a shot played with a poor technical delivery usually due to pressure and nerves.


  • WEPF: World English Pool Federation (World Rules).
  • Wiped its’ feet: when a ball has “Wiped its’ feet” it has hit each jaw of a pocket and almost Rattled before dropping into the pocket.
  • World Rules: established during the early 90’s used by the WEPF, World Rules introduced the ‘must hit a cushion’ after contact with the object ball rule which is now often standard practice.  Deliberate fouls are legal, 2 shots carry and no combination shots.

This 8 Ball Pool Dictionary remains open for edits so if there are any terms you want adding in let me know.

Hope this helps,


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