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Bowling Terms (Terminology And Lingo: All You Need To Know)

What are Bowling Terms?

What bowling lingo should you know?

What are the essential terms you must know in bowling?

Keep reading as we have gathered exactly the information that you need!

Let’s dig into our bowling glossary!

Are you ready?

Let’s get started!

Bowling Terms

Let’s look at some of the terms used in bowling that any bowler should know.

We’ve compiled a list of words, or bowling lingo, to get you started.

300 Game

A perfect game.


Action is the spin on the ball and the movement on the pin. 

A slow ball with a lot of action can result in a better outcome than a fast ball with little action.

Action is also referred to how the pins hit one another.


Address refers to the bowler’s stance when starting the approach.


An adjustment refers to how a bowler changes something to be more competitive like a change in equipment or alignment.

Angle of Entry

The angle of entry refers to the direction a bowling ball takes when it is hooked into the pocket.


The approach refers to the space before the foul line where bowlers take their steps when swinging the ball.


Armswing refers to the bowler’s arm path from the pushaway all the way to the release of the ball.


Arrows refers to triangles drawn on the lane to help bowlers aim their shot.

Baby Split 

Baby split refers to the 2-7 or 3-10 split.

Back End

Back end is the last 20 feet of the lane.

Bad Rack

A bad rack refers to a set of pins placed with seemingly poor pin positioning.  

Backup Ball

A backup ball is a ball thrown in a reverse spin.


Bagger refers to a string of strikes.

Baker Game

A Baker Game is a method of team play where five bowlers play together to make up one game.

Balance Hole

A balance hole is an extra hold used to balance the ball by increasing or decreasing the ball’s reaction or to fine tune it.

Ball Return

A ball return is a piece of equipment that returns the balls thrown.

Ball Spinner

A ball spinner is a machine used to spin the ball allowing you to polish or sand the ball.

Ball Track

A ball track is the area on the lane where most balls are thrown or the area of the lane where balls roll.


The beak refers to the nose or center of the head pin.

Bed Posts

“Bed posts” is another way of referring to a 7-10 split.

Belly The Ball

Belly The Ball refers to a type of shot where players stand inside and toss the ball to the outside hoping it returns to the pocket for a strike.

Big Four

Big four refers to a 4-6-7-10 split.

Blind Score

Blind score is when a bowler’s average is used as the bowler’s score to calculate a team’s total for a game.


A blow refers to a miss or failing to convert a spore other than a split.

Blow Out

A blow out refers to the extra time given to a player to complete a game more than their scheduled time.


A board consists of 39 strops of wood making up a bowling lane.

The boards are typically numbered and used to target the ball.

Body English

Body English refers to the movement of the body to steer the ball as the ball travels down the lane.


Boomer refers to the big hooking of the ball.

Bottom Weight

The bottom weight refers to the additional weight at the bottom of the ball.

A ball with bottom weight will roll sooner.

Break Point

The break point refers to the portion of the lane where the bowling ball starts to hook.

Bowlers can find the right break point by adjusting their alignment, ball, ball speed, and other elements of their game.


Brooklyn refers to the ball that crosses over to the other side of the head pin from the side opposite to the one it was thrown.


A bucket refers to a diamond-shaped four-pin cluster.


When oil is applied to the surface of the lane, it will not get soaked into the boards.

As balls are thrown, the oil moves on the surface of the lane and may get “carried” down the bowling lane.

As carry increases, bowlers are not able to hook the ball as much as they can.

This is called the carrydown effect.


Chop refers to the knocking down of one pin of a spare where the pin next or behind the knocked pin remains standing.


Cincinnati refers to a 8-10 split.

Clean Game

A clean game refers to a game without any open frames.

Closed Pocket

A closed pocket is when a full rack of pins is set up for a strike where the head pin is a bit off spot towards the bowler’s bowling hand.


A conditioner is another way to refer to lane oil.

Conventional Grip

The conventional grip is a type of ball drilling where fingers are placed into the ball holes up to the second knuckle.


A count refers to the number of pins knocked down in the next frame that apply to a spare or strike.


The coverstock is the material that makes up the outer shell of a bowling ball.

The texture of the coverstock will have an impact on the ball action and friction caused on the lane.

Dead Wood

Dead wood refers to pins that have been knocked over but stay sitting on the lane as they were missed in the clear away.


A deuce is a game of 200 or more.


Dots refer to a series of seven spots on the lanes past the foul line but before the arrows or the markets on the runway.

Double Pinochle 

The Double Pinochle refers to a 4-6-7-10 split.

Down and In 

Down and In refers to a line of the ball that is more direct and parallel with the boards. 


Dressing refers to the lane conditioner.


Drift refers to a bowler’s inconsistent footwork.


Dry refers to lanes that have little oil applied to them.

Dutch 200

Dutch 200 refers to a game of exactly 200 points.

Early Timing

Early timing refers to when a bowler releases the ball before the sliding foot completes its sliding action.

Entry Angle

The entry angle refers to the angle where the ball enters the pocket.

Fall Back Shot

Fall Back Shot is a type of shot that starts the opposite side of the normal pocket and fades into the pocket.

Fast Eight

The fast eight refers to a pocket hit that gets eight pins.

Fifth Arrow

The fifth arrow refers to the arrow on the 25th board from the right.

Finger Grips

Finger grips refer to the inserts that are placed in the finger hole or thumb hold allowing for a better grip of the ball.


The fingertip refers to a bowling grip where your fingers are inserted up to the first joint.


A five-Bagger refers to throwing five consecutive strikes.


Flare refers to the migration of the ball track from the bowler’s initial axis relative to the axis at the moment the ball hits the pins.

Flat Gutter

Flat gutter refers to a normal gutter that is shaped like an oval but where it is flat at the end of the lane where the pins are situated.


Flush refers to a bowler hitting a solid in the pocket.

Follow Through

Follow through refers to the motion of a bowler’s arm after the ball is released.


A foul refers to a crossing of the foot or touching of the foul line.

Foul line 

The foul line is a line that separates the approach area from the bowling lane.

Foundation Frame

A foundation frame is the 9th game.


Four-Bagger refers to throwing four consecutive strikes.


The frame is a game of bowling divided in 10 frames.

Golden Gate

The Golden Gate refers to a 4-6-7-10 Split.

Greek Church

The Greek Church refers to a split leaving 5 pins or any split on which there are three pins on one side and two on the other.

Half Ten

Half ten refers to a 10-pin that was left by the ball and the 6-pin laying down in front of it in a half manner.


Handicap refers to a score adjustment to allow bowlers with different experience levels to play a competitive game.

Head Pin

Head pin refers to pin number 1.

High Hit

A high hit refers to too much head pin on a strike attempt.


The house refers to a blowing center or establishment.

House Ball

A house ball refers to a bowling ball offered by the house.

Jersey Side

Jersey Side refers to a ball that hits the opposite side of the player’s normal pocket.


The Kegler refers to the German word for bowler.


A kickback refers to the side of the boards around the pins that divide the lane.

King Pin

The 5-pin.

Leadoff Man

Leadoff Man refers to a member of a league who bowls first.


Leave refers to pins left standing after the first ball.


Lily refers to the 5-7-10 split or the “sour apple”.


Loft refers to the distance the ball travels between the time it was released to the time it hits the lane.

Long Oil

Long oil refers to the condition of the lane where the conditioner is applied from the foul line and farther.


Maple refers to the hard wood used for the head portion of the lane.

Mass Bias

Mass bias refers to the weight block of a bowling ball that is more dominant in one direction.


The messenger refers to the pin that rolls across the pindeck into a pin to get a strike or break a split.


Moat refers to the gutter.

Negative Weight

The negative weight refers to a ball that tends to hold back the hook or gets into a roll earlier.


No-tap refers to a type of competition where hitting nine pins on the first ball is considered a strike.

Open Bowling

Open bowling refers to recreational bowling.

Open Frame

Open frame refers to a frame without a spare or strike.

Out of Bounds

Out of bounds refers to an area from which the ball can’t get to the pocket with its usual break.


The par refers to a 200 game scored by a professional bowler.

Perfect Game

A perfect game refers to a game where the bowler throws 12 consecutive strikes resulting in 300 points.

Picket Fence

Picket fence refers to the 1-2-4-7 or 1-3-6-10 spares.

Pin Deck

The pin deck refers to the area on which the pins are set.


The pit refers to the area of the lane that is right behind the pin deck.


The pitch refers to the angle at which holes are drilled in the ball.


A pocket refers to the most desirable location where a ball should be to hit a strike.

Positive Weight

Positive weight refers to when a ball ends to magnify or enhance the hook or gets into a roll later on the lane.

Quick Eight

Quick Eight refers to a good pocket hit leaving the 4-7 for right-handers or the 6-10 for left-handers.

Radius of Gyration 

The Radius of Gyration or RG refers to how fast the ball starts rotating once it is delivered by the bowler.


A re-rack refers to the resetting of the pins.


Revolutions or Revs refers to the number of times the bowling ball rolls over from the moment it is delivered to the moment it hits the pins.


Sandbagging refers to a bowler’s intentional attempt to keep the score low with the end result of getting a higher handicap.


A scratch refers to a bowler’s total score without the handicap.


The “sixpack” refers to six consecutive strikes.


A skid refers to how a ball reacts when it comes into contact with the lane.


Sleeper refers to a rear pin that is hard to see.


The span refers to the distance between the thumb finger hold and the finger holes on a ball.


A spare is the knocking down of the pins remaining in a second throw.


A split refers to a gap between two or more pins.

Spot Bowling

Spot bowling refers to bowling by aiming at a specific spot on the bowling lane like an arrow or a board.


A strike refers to when a bowler knocks down all the 10 pins on the first throw.

Strike Out

Strike out refers to when a bowler finishes a game with all strikes.

Top Weight

Top weight refers to the drilling of a ball so there is more weight above the label.


A “turkey” refers to three strikes in a row.


Vacancy refers to a “dummy” score when a team does not have the same number of players on the roaster.

Vent Hole 

The vent hole is an additional hole drilled into the ball to relieve suction in the thumb hole.


Washout refers to a split with the head pin standing.

Weight Block

Weight block refers to the interior of the ball adding additional weight to it.


Let’s look at a summary of our findings.

Bowling Terms

  • In this article, we have outlined many bowling terms, terminology, slang, and jargon used in the game
  • Many refer to these terms as bowling lingo or jargon
  • The terms we have outlined here represent some of the most important terms you should know if you want to get to know bowling
Bowling pin names
Bowling pocket 
Bowling rounds
Call bowling
Four strikes in a row in bowling 
Strikes in bowling
Editorial Staffhttps://bowling.zone
Hello Nation! My name is Amir! I started this blog to provide all you bowling fans and enthusiasts with useful content, information, and resources on bowling. No matter if you are doing this as a hobby or professionally, I hope you could find what you're looking for. Enjoy!


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