Back Bowl: A bowl that comes to rest beyond the Jack.
Draw: A bowl aimed to the left of the Jack that curves
to the right (for right-handed bowlers)
Be Up: An instruction from the skip to bowl longer (and not to be short of the jack).
Bias: The natural curve of a bowl, due to an uneven weight distribution in the bowl. Bias is said to be "correct" when the bowl curves
towards the Jack.
Blocker: A bowl that blocks someone (usually an opponent) from reaching their target.
/ Burned End: When the jack has been knocked out of bounds.
The end is not counted and is played again.
Draw Shot: Shots where the bowl is rolled to a specific location without disturbing bowls already at the head.
Drive: A bowl bowled with considerable force with the aim of knocking
either the jack or a specific bowl(s) out of play.
Dead Bowl: When a bowl either goes in the ditch or rests outside the rink.
Down: When your team does not have the shot. You may be down by one or more points.
End: The rolling of the jack and bowling of all bowls for both teams in the
same direction on the rink. A typical social game
has 14 ends; a tournament game may have up to 18.
Foot Fault: A foot fault occurs when the bowler does not have one foot over or on
the mat during the release of the bowl.
Draw: A bowl aimed to the right of the Jack that curves
to the left (for right-handed bowlers).
Grass: Apart from the surface, the directional line the bowl takes in order
for it to curve towards the jack. A bowl that is wide of the jack is often said to have "too much grass."
Green: The general playing surface for bowls. The green is square and composed of many rinks. To protect the green, the direction in which games are played often alternates from day to day.
The Hammer: The final bowl of the end.
Hand: The side on which the bowl is delivered: either forehand or backhand.
Head: The collection of bowls in play around the jack.
Hog Line: Special markers (often flags for tournaments) that dictate the minimum
line beyond which the jack must be rolled for the end to be valid.
Holding Shot: A term used for the team that currently has the bowl closest to the jack; that team is said to be "holding shot."
Hook: A description of the path that some bowls take, particularly Classic bowls
with extreme bias.
Jack: The small, white ball (or "kitty") used as a target to which to bowl.
Lane: All games are played within lanes that are at least 14 feet wide.
The lanes for a given game or tournament are designated with markers
on the edges of the green. By dividing the green into lanes, multiple games can be played
simultaneously on one green.
Lead: The person who starts play each end. The lead is also responsible for placing the mat and rolling the jack.
Mat: The rectangular surface upon which bowlers must keep at least one foot on or above while delivering their bowls.
Measure: A term used to describe a situation in which the bowls are too close to visually decide which one is closer. Players carry special measures to determine which bowl is closest in this case. (Since the actual distance is irrelevant, these measures are seldom marked with inches, feet, etc.)
Narrow: A term used to describe a bowl that curves past the jack (and thus was not bowled "wide" enough).
Pairs: Bowls games in which each team has a pair of players (a skip and
Points: The bowl or bowls that are closest to the jack for the scoring team.
Potato Bowl: A badly thrown (or released) bowl that hops, skips and jumps, rather than rolling smoothly.
a Bowl: Hitting a bowl that has already come to rest and moving it closer to the jack.
Rink: The lane on the grass court playing surface. Often 15 feet wide
from side to side. Each rink is defined by markers
on the edge to clearly define the lane.
Rinks bowls: A bowling game in which there are 4 players per team: a skip, a vice,
a "second" lead, and a lead. Typically players in Rinks games use 2 bowls each.
Skipper (Skip): Team captain who always plays last. This person is usually
the most experienced player and also the player who guides the strategy.
Shot Bowl: The bowl closest to the Jack.
the two closest bowls are both exactly the same distance from the
jack and belong to opposing teams, even after measurement, the end
is declared a tie. (Note: Unlike old conservative English clubs,
the men never ever wear ties at our club - not even for the holiday dinner!)
Touchers: Bowls that hit the Jack. These bowls are marked with chalk and remain
"alive" even if they are in the ditch.
Trial Ends: Formal practice ends, usually only allowed at the start of a tournament,
in which each team rolls 2 bowls down and back to get a feel of
the green. These ends do not count in the scoring.
Triples: A game in which each team has 3 players on their team: a skip,
a vice and a lead. Typically each player uses 3 bowls
Up: When your team has the shot. You may be up by one or more points.
Vice: The person who plays after the lead and is responsible for deciding
the winner of a head and recording the results.
Weight: The speed applied in delivering the bowl from the mat
to the Jack. A bowl is said to be "heavy" if it rolls beyond the desired spot, and "light" if it stops short of the desired spot.
Wide: A term used to describe a bowl that never curves back to the jack (and thus was bowled too "wide.")
Wick: When a bowl bounces off another bowl. (This term is derived from
Woods: An old term for bowls.
Yard On: A shot delivered with an extra degree of speed to displace or disturb
other bowls in the head or move the jack.
(Special thanks to Ron LeBlanc, who initiated this page.)