The English of Billiards

Hello all you billiards and gaming enthusiasts! Well, if you’re not an enthusiast, I still have something that you might billiards-englishbe interested in regarding the game of billiards. It is how and the word or term “English” has to do with billiards.

According to, english is defined as: when a cue ball is struck on either side of its vertical axis, giving it “side spin”. English in billiards may also occur when a ball collides with another or with a rail. The term comes from the British players who first became famous with sidespin techniques. The Americans could say, “Look at all the British they’re adding, which became “English” or now, “english” with a lower case “e”.

I have provided a video that you can see below in describing this. Please share any comments, thoughts, or questions that you may have on billiards english. Perhaps you can share a story or any experiences that you might have. I would like to hear if you have any. Also, please share if you liked this post on social media. Thanks for stopping by.


  1. // Reply

    Hi Armand! Thanks for your reply about the “English” term in Billards. It answered my question!

    1. // Reply

      Your welcome Raymond! Feel free to ask any other questions that you may have relating to anything on this post or on this site. I’ll do my best to provide the best efficient answer.


  2. // Reply

    Nice and simple explanation. As someone who grew up watching Pot Black on the TV, I have always had a love for snooker. I used to play often with my father and then progressed to playing pool with friends up the pub. As for billiards, I have never played the 3 ball game but it requires and incredible amount of ball control – or English

    1. // Reply

      Thanks for the comment, Iain! I have never seen Pot Black, and after doing a Google search, I am going to be watching some of the YouTube vids. I am going to be going over a snooker table that is within reach for me to try to promote on this site. Though, I haven’t found one that is worldwide (I only found one that only distributes in Australia, not the US where I am from).

      I would that mastering english while shooting pool would be highly recommended especially in tournaments where the stakes are much higher and there’s money to be won. Also, it takes great practice to master the bank shot to pocket a ball.


  3. // Reply

    Hi Armand,
    Thanks for creating a billiard’s website! I have played a bit of billiards myself with friends, but I have never been really good at! I am surprised that “English” is a technical term in billiards! By any chance do you where the term originate from? Was it maybe due the influence of English players in developing the technique?

    1. // Reply

      Hello Raymond! Thanks so much for commenting. I feel that we are on the same boat as I am not a professional at pool either. I just enjoy playing this kind of activity. So, it’s ok if you’re a professional or otherwise: no worries! Yes, English is a technical term in the billiards world, particularly in shooting pool. To answer your question, english, according to Wikipedia, originated from Great Britain, and surely it was due to the influence of English players, especially the British that developed this technique in trying to pocket the balls with the least amount of tries. I hope I answered your questions correctly. I look forward to hearing from you again.


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