Bowling Terms You May Find Helpful – (Detailed List)

Here is a list of bowling terms that you may find helpful when playing or watching bowling. If you see some bowling terms that are not on this list please comment below.
Red neon sign at a bowling alley

Bowling Terminology


The American Bowling Congress was founded in 1895 and dissolved in 2004. It was replaced on January 1, 2005, by the United States Bowling Congress to combine the efforts of the ABC, WIBC, YABA, and USA Bowling.


Professional Bowlers Association (PBA): Determines requirements for membership, entry fees for local and national PBA tournaments, and monitors player conduct.


The Professional Women’s Bowling Association is a group of the best female bowlers in the world. The members of this group will receive several benefits this year. These benefits are listed on their website. If you would like to be a member, go there to check if registration is open.


The United States Bowling Congress is the national governing body for ten-pin bowling in America. It was formed on January 1, 2005, from the merger of the American Bowling Congress, Women’s International Bowling Congress, Young American Bowling Alliance, and USA Bowling.


The women’s international bowling congress was founded in 1916 and is now a division of the United States Bowling Congress. It is open to women of all ages and abilities who want to participate in organized bowling competitions.


The Young American Bowling Alliance is a division of the United States Bowling Congress. It was formed on January 1, 2005, from the merger of the American Bowling Congress, Women’s International Bowling Congress, and USA Bowling. The YABA is open to all youth bowlers who want to participate in organized competitions.


  • Action is the pins’ movement caused by the ball’s hook.
  • A clean ball helps keep the action where it should be.
  • It is also when the pins fly into one another making for a good leave.
  • The motion of the pins caused by the bowler’s technique is called pin action. This is generally a result of accuracy, rotation (see definition), and other factors.
  • The pins moving horizontally instead of vertically means they cover more of the lane.


The bowler’s stance before starting at the approach.


The changing of part of your game to be more competitive on the particular lane and/or lane condition you are bowling. This can mean an alignment change, equipment change, or even changes in your physical or mental game; some are subtle, others more pronounced.


  • A series of lanes where people can bowl;
  • A place where people can bowl;
  • The surface on which bowling is played, is usually made of maple and pine boards; urethane lanes may soon outnumber wood lanes.

All the way

Finishing a game from any point by only throwing strikes. He went all the way after the 4th frame.


The last bowler to bowl in team competition is usually the best. This is because they are most likely to get a strike in the “foundation frame” (the ninth frame) and most likely to “strike out.”


The path the ball takes when it enters the 1-3 pocket (1-2 for left-handed bowlers). Recent research has shown that an angle of 4-6 degrees is optimum; a lesser or greater degree leaves pins exposed as the pocket width decreases.


  • The Bowling Ball
  • A person who fails to perform well in a critical situation.


  • The way in which the bowler gets up to the foul line.
  • Also known as the area behind the foul line from which the bowler makes his delivery.
  • The part of the lane from the back of the ball return area to the foul line is called the approach.
  • The bowler’s motion starts here and ends at the start of the delivery when the ball starts its final swing forward.


A player has a good “area” if their ball spans across a large number of boards during its hook.


When you push away from the ball, you want your arm to move in a straight line. The arc of your bowling arm and hand from the first move toward the line until you deliver the ball over the line should be consistent.


  • The triangles on the lane help you aim your throw.
  • Aiming points embedded in the lane.
  • These arrows (usually red or black, but maybe other colors) are used to aim.

Automatic Foul Detector

A light beam at the foul line sounds an alarm if the bowler’s foot crosses it. The penalty for doing so is loss of pins for that ball; the bowler shoots at a new rack of ten pins (which counts as a spare if all are knocked down).


The point on the ball where the bowler’s release creates the initial axis of rotation is called the positive axis point.

Axis Tilt

The axis tilt is the angle your axis makes with the ground when you release the ball. This ranges from 0 to 90 degrees, depending on whether or not your axis is facing in the same direction as the gutters when you let go of the ball. The closer your axis is to being perpendicular to the gutters, the quicker your ball will start rolling. Axis tilt affects skid.

Automatic Pinsetter

The first bowling pinsetter was invented in the 1940s. It worked by detecting the pins left standing, sweeping up the fallen pins, and then resetting the pins for the next player. This invention helped to create the “bowling boom” of the 1950s, and the inventor received $1 million from AMF. Any pins standing at the end of the frame were swept away.

Baby Ball, Baby the Ball

The ball was released too carefully and didn’t have enough authority. This made it difficult to deliver the ball successfully.

Baby Split

The 2-7 or 3-10 split. Called a baby split because it is not as difficult to pick up as a regular split.

Baby Split with Company

The 2-7-8 or 3-9-10.

Back Ends

The last 5-6 feet of the lane, near the pin deck, is where balls hook more. This is because the lane is getting drier near the end. If the back part of the lane is very dry, then the ball will keep hooking strongly for most players. If the back part of the lane is tight, then most players will see more deflection and less strikes.

Backup Ball

A ball that curves in the opposite direction for right-handed bowlers or left-handed bowlers. Rare to see pros using a backup ball.

Backup Alley

A lane helps keep the ball from rolling to the right or left.

Bad Rack

A full set of pins that appears to be crooked or not in the right position. This is generally not desirable.


  • When a bowler does not deliver the ball properly.
  • To prevent another bowler from bowling or to disrupt their approach.

Ball Rack:

  • Where the ball rests before it is rolled and after it returns from the pit.
  • The structure is used to store the house balls.

Ball Return

The track between the lanes the ball travels on when being returned to the bowler.

Ball Track

The area on the lane where most balls are rolled. The ball track is usually referred to as the lane.


A very light, powerless hit on the head pin.

BAGGER (Consecutive Strikes in a row)

A string of strikes. Throwing four strikes in a row, among other things, is called a 4 bagger.

1. Home Opener

A strike is when you knock down all 10 pins in one roll. If your first strike is on your very first ball (first frame) sometimes people will call it a home opener or an original strike.

2. A Double

A double is when you knock down all 10 pins on your first two rolls or when you roll any two strikes in a row. A “double” or a “Barney Rubble” is made up of two strikes in a row.

3. A Turkey

Getting three strikes in a row is called a turkey. If rolled on the first three frames, sometimes it’s dubbed a sizzling turkey. In the early days of bowling, a common prize was an actual turkey for anybody who could perform such a remarkable feat.

4. A Hambone (also when it becomes a bagger)

When you roll consecutive strikes higher than three strikes in a row your streak becomes a “bagger” with the number affixed before the word bagger.

So if you bowl four strikes in a row, it is called a four-bagger. The term four-bagger may come from when bowling was first starting and people would get food for winning competitions.

5. Olympic Rings, A Brat, Yahtzee

  • The term for rolling five strikes in a row is often called rolling a “Brat” because there are five bratwursts in a package.
  • It has also been called Olympic rings, or Yahtzee due to the 5 dice that are involved.
  • And finally, it’s also called a five-bagger.

6. Six Pack, Wild Turkey, or a Double Turkey

  • Getting six consecutive strikes in a row is called a six-bagger of course, but it also has various other names.
  • Six Pack
  • Rolling six strikes in a row doubles the turkey, so you will often hear it called a double turkey or a wild turkey.

7. Turkey Hambone or a Ham-Turkey Dinner

A Turkey Ham Bone a logical hybrid of two achievements: a hambone (four strikes) and a turkey (three strikes), which make seven; this is also known as a seven-bagger or a Ham Turkey Dinner.

8. Octopus

When you talk about 8 tentacles or you throw your eighth strike in a row, you call it an “octopus.”

Bowling eight strikes in a row is also called an eight-bagger. This is obviously a harder and longer string of strikes to get.

9. Golden Turkey

This is when you get a turkey for the third time in a row! Nine consecutive strikes in bowling is impressive and at this point in the game your points determined will be from your last frame.

If your ball gets nine consecutive stikes it’s also termed a nine-bagger.

10. Front Ten

A strike in the tenth and final frame rewards the bowler with two extra balls to allow for the scoring of bonus points.

A Ten bagger allows you to throw 2 more times. Use your extra ball wisely.

11. Front Eleven

Ok at this point we have sort of run out of names. Basically this is an eleven bagger or a front eleven.

12. Perfect Game

A perfect game is when a bowler strikes 12 times in a row, while a 900 series is when a bowler gets a strike 36 consecutive times.

Front and Back Strings

If you bowl consecutive strikes in the first six frames, you will have a front string. This is like having a string of strikes in the first six frames. If you bowl consecutive strikes in the seventh, eighth, and ninth frames, you will have a back string. This is like having a string of strikes in the last three frames.

Ultimate String

If you roll 36 strikes in a row, you will have completed three Perfect Games. This means that you will have earned 900 points in total.


In Baker play, five players bowl together in one game. The first player bowls frames 1 and 6, the second player bowls frames 2 and 7, and so on. Most Baker matches are two games long and the total pins scored in both games are used to determine the winner of the match play.

BALANCE (Bowling Ball)

The weight of a bowling ball is not always evenly distributed. This is because the USBC rules allow a ball to vary 3 ounces from the drilled top half to bottom half of a ball and one ounce from the left to right side.

Resin balls are now used to change the roll pattern of a ball. A ball with negative balance tends to be influenced to turn away from the pins; a ball with positive balance will be influenced to turn into the pins.

BALANCE (Player)

A player is in balance if they can complete their follow-through without falling off to one side. This means that the release and slide are simultaneous.


Generally speaking, if you cut a bowling ball in half, each half would have the same amount of weight.

However, if you drill the ball off-center, more of the weight block will be on one side of the ball. This might make that half of the ball too heavy compared to the other half. In addition, modern high-tech balls and their asymmetrical cores can be drilled in a way that goes against the maximum tolerances allowed by the USBC for side to side weight (which is a one-ounce differential).

If a ball is too heavy, an extra hole can be drilled to take some weight off. This is called the balance hole. The balance hole can also be used to make a ball go faster or slower or to make a very small change in how it reacts.


A machine that is used to spin a ball in a container so that the user can apply ball polish or sand the ball down more quickly.


  1. The area of the lane where most balls are thrown;
  2. the area on a ball where the ball rolls; most balls will show scratches and wear in this area after several games.


When a pin is hidden behind another pin; 1-5, 2-8, 3-9. 


The nose; is the center of the head pin.


The entire area of a lane is set into, from the approach to the pit, including the channels.


The 7-10 split.


Describes the type of shot where a player stands inside and tosses it to the outside in the hopes it returns to the pocket for a strike.

Beer Frame

A refreshment break and “beer run”. The person initiated is usually the lowest-scoring player. Often happens during the 7th frame.

Belly The Ball

If you want to increase the width (number of boards a hook must travel from its maximum outside position), you will need to start from the inside angle.


Talking or acting in a way that makes your opponent angry. (trash talking)


Hooking or curving shot that comes close to the gutter before breaking into the pocket.


After drilling the thumb and finger holes, it’s the act of smoothing the edges.


A Pin that is hidden behind another pin.

Big Ball

A good hook that helps bowlers get strikes even when their ball hits the pocket imperfectly.

Big Ears

The 4-6-7-10 split. (big four, double pinochle, golden gate)

Big Fill

Getting nine or ten pins on a spare, or a double on a strike.

Big Five

Leaving a spare with 3 on one side and 2 on the other.


The 4-6-7-10 split.

Blended Condition

The “thick oil” theory is that the holes are most likely caused by lanes with a little dip in the middle. Proprietors compensate for this by “accidentally” over-oiling, resulting in a “regular blended block.” A “Berlin Wall” occurs when the contrast between the oily center and dry sides is very great. A “tunnel block” occurs around one arrow (usually the second arrow).

It’s a “funnel block” when the block narrows toward the pins. The edge of a block moves toward the middle as oil evaporates, and you can discover it by looking for the edge. A “reverse block” has more oil on the flanks and less in the middle; therefore, as oil evaporates (and may be followed outward).


If a bowler is “blind” and can’t find their way to the league that evening, their average is simply used (as if they just bowled that score) when figuring the team’s total for each game.


When you miss or foul and you don’t get the spare… other than when it’s a split.


Allowing a bowler to take consecutive turns in order to finish the game quickly. This is normally a courtesy to a player that has other time commitments.


There are 39 pieces of wood in a lane. Players usually number them and use them when trying to position their approach.


The extra oomph you get when your body helps to steer the ball as it travels down the lane.


  • A ball that is thrown with lots of hook.
  • A person who throws a lot of hook in their ball.


The weight of a bowling ball is not always evenly distributed. This is allowed by the USBC rules, which say that a ball can vary 3 ounces from the drilled top half to the bottom half of a ball and one ounce from the left to the right side.

A ball that has more top weight will go further before it hooks. A ball with more bottom weight will roll earlier. This is less important now that we have modern balls.


Knowing where to aim your ball in order to make it curve back towards the pocket is important if you want to play well. This is called “break point management.”

If a ball hooks too early or too late, it will be difficult for a player to be consistent. This can be fixed by adjusting the breakpoints, which can be done by changing the alignment, target, ball, ball surface, and ball speed.


Refers to a ball that goes across the other side of the head pin, opposite to where it was thrown (i.e., a Brooklyn strike hits the 1-2 pocket for a right-handed bowler).


A diamond-shaped, four-pin cluster, e.g., the 2-4-5-8 or 1-2-3-5. This could be different for a righty or a lefty.


A ball that is thrown with lots of power and speed.


The oil conditioner on the lane does not soak into the boards, it sits on top. As balls are thrown, the oil is subtly moved. It may be pushed left and right, or, it may be moved farther down the lane (carried down). Usually, but not always, a house with a lot of carrydown will not allow a ball to hook as much on the back ends and scores will be lower.

In some houses and oil patterns, the initial pattern is too strong. This means that the ball will travel further than it should. As the lane starts dry, this effect becomes stronger. A top professional can see this change happening and make adjustments accordingly.


The heaviest part of a bowling ball is called the “CG.” The “CG” is marked on the ball by the manufacturer to designate the center of the weight mass relative to the top of the ball.

CHANNEL (Gutter)

The sides of a bowling lane have semicircular grooves or drop-off areas.


This means knocking down one of the pins in a spare while the other pin next to or behind it remains standing.


When a bowler finishes a game without any open frames.


A complete rack of pins is set up for your strike ball in such a way that the head pin is just a little off target to your hand, typically to the right for a right-handed player; closed pockets are prone to produce unpredictable results, frequently negative.


Another name for lane oil is conditioner. This is a substance that is used to prevent burn marks on the heads of lanes.


The fingers are placed up to the second joint in a kind of ball drilling. It is not utilized by many higher-level players since it is considerably more difficult to get a hook on this form of drill, although it may help accuracy in some people.


Usually, the number of pins knocked down in the next frame applies to a spare or strike.


The material that makes up the outer shell of the ball; is the hardness, texture, and shine of a bowling ball.

Curve Ball

A curve ball is a ball thrown with a large hook.


A game of 200 or more.


  • There are a series of seven spots on the lanes that you should aim for. These spots will help you to target and align yourself properly. You should also use these same spots on the approach to help you line up your feet when you take your initial stance.
  • Markers on the runway can help guide the bowler’s approach.


Any two pins such that one is directly behind the other; i.e., the 2-8; 3-9; 1-5.


Refers to a line that is more direct and parallel to the boards; instead of hooking the ball.


The lane conditioner; the act of applying lane conditioner.


The number of boards you vary from straight in your approach to the foul line. For example, if you place the inside edge of your slide foot on board 15 on the approach, but your inside edge slides on the 12 board at the foul line, you have a three-board inward drift.


A game in which you get a strike or spare on every other turn.


Releasing the ball before your foot finishes sliding can make your ball go less far. This happens because you don’t have the right balance and power to hit the ball well.


The angle of how the ball enters the pocket affects how often it will hit the pocket. The more angled it is, the more likely it is to hit the pocket. This is why people prefer a ball that hooks a lot or has clean back ends.


A type of shot that starts on one side of the pocket and then curves back into the pocket; this type of shot is often used in very oily lane conditions.


  • Describes an apparent good pocket hit that gets just eight (8) pins.
  • Typically the right-handed players will leave the 4-7 spare and the left-handed players the 6-10.
  • Usually, the ball is a tad high when this happens.


The 25th board from the right is the right-hand player’s board. The fifth arrow is played by bowlers who have an “Out of Bounds” condition.


The ball is thrown after a spare in the 10th frame.

Finger Grip Inserts

Inserts that help you grip the club better, which gives you more spin, a later release, and more lift.


When a ball is drilled so that the finger holes are closer to the ball’s label than the thumbhole, this is called positive weight.


A type of grip in which the fingers are inserted only as far as the first joint, allowing much more spin.


The farthest to the right (for a right-handed player); is located on the 5th board.


The ball’s movement from the point where you release it to when it hits the pins.


  • A ball that deflects too much
  • Ineffective ball
  • Few revolutions
  • If a ball comes into the pocket on what looks like a good hit, but then leaves on a weak hit such as the 5-7 or 8-10 split, it is said to have hit “flat.”


The normal gutter is shaped like an oval so that the ball can roll smoothly and cleanly to the pit area if it goes into the gutter early. However, at the end of the lanes by the pins, the gutters are flat.

To prevent this, the pin deck should be lowered so that it is at least slightly lower than the bottom of the flat gutters. If the flat gutters are too tall, they will allow for considerably more pinfall because pins deflect off of sideboards and rebound back onto the lane far easier, resulting in increased pin action.


Being solid in the pocket.


What you do with your arm after you throw the ball is important. You should follow through towards your target and move your arm upwards. This will help you throw the ball more accurately.


When you deliver the ball, if you cross or touch the foul line, this is called a ‘foul’. If it happens on the first ball of a frame, the bowler gets another chance to throw the ball.


  1. The line that separates the approach area from the beginning of the playing surface.
  2. A line, usually red, between the approach and the beginning of the lane, 60 feet from the head pin.


The 9th frame.


In a game of bowling, there are 10 frames. In each frame, you have 2 chances to knock down all the pins. The only exception is in the 10th frame where you have 3 chances.

Front Pin

The front pin is the first pin from the left in the rack. It is also called the head pin.


The ball rolls around its entire circumference. The track of the ball goes between the thumb and finger holes.

Although once popular, using a flatter ball is now less common because it doesn’t travel as far as a semi-rolled ball. This is because it generally can’t create the increased entry angles that help your shots carry, particularly off-hits.


The 6-8 split; this is a difficult split to make because both pins are quite close together.


How you hold the ball is very important. You should grip the ball with your fingers and thumb. Your fingers should be around the ball, not on top of it.


  • A five-pin split leave that is similar to the 4-6-7-9-10 so-called because it reminds people of an old cathedral type church with spires, etc.
  • Any split on which there are three pins on one side of the lane and two on the other.


A ball track is the groove in the lane where your bowling ball rolls. When someone bowls well and has a very consistent approach and armswing, they are said to have a “good groove.”


Depression is approximately 9.5 inches wide to the right and the left of the lane to guide the ball to the pit should it leave the playing surface.

Gutter Ball

A gutter ball is when a ball goes into the gutter during the first ball or the second ball.

Gutter Shot

Some people roll their ball from the extreme edge of the lane in order to get it to go a long way. Only a foul if the ball crosses into the gutter and comes back out.


A description of a 10-pin left by a ball in the pocket, and the 6-pin laying down in front of it.


Scores are adjusted to make sure that everyone has a fair chance to win. This is done by adding pins to the game at a predetermined rate.


That part of the lane which is usually hard maple (wood lanes) to absorb the impact of the thrown balls, generally the first 20 feet of the wood lane.


The 1 pin.


A ball that hits closer to the center of the head pin, often leaving a split.


  • A solid hit on a pin due to contact near its front center.
  • Hitting too much head pin on a strike attempt.


  • The 1-3 pocket, 1-2 for lefties;
  • Another name for “split”.

Home alley

Favorite lane or pair of lanes for individuals or league play. The home alley will have specific lanes available for league play.


A good ball.


A ball that breaks in one direction for right-handed people and the other direction for left-handed people.

Hook alley

A lane on which the ball will hook easily.


When a bowler or team starts getting strings of strikes.


Your bowling center.

House ball

The bowling balls that are available to use at your house bowling alley.


A starting point near the center of the lane usually refers to the point when you release the ball.

In There

A good pocket hit.

Jack Manders

Rolling through the middle of a 7-10 or any wide split. Not a good thing.


When you force the ball high into the pocket.


A ball that hits on the opposite side of the player’s normal pocket; i.e, a Jersey for a right-handed bowler would hit on the 1-2 pocket; usually refers to getting a strike in the “wrong” pocket. Called a “Brooklyn” in most locations of the country.


“Bowler” when spoken in German.


The side boards around the pins that divide lanes help to keep the pins in place and also rebound or “kick” back onto the lane which can help with pin action.


The 5-pin is a key pin that helps produce a strike. When you hit the ball lightly or it deflects off another object, this pin will remain standing.


Team members pay money to cover the costs of tournaments and other team events. The money can also be divided up evenly at the end of the season.


Organized competition on a weekly schedule for team play.


Pins are left standing after the first ball has been rolled.


A ball that doesn’t hit the pins hard enough causing them to deflect sideways.


  • The 5-7-10 split.
  • Also known as the “sour apple”.


The path a bowling ball takes when a bowler releases the ball.


The distance the ball travels between the time of release before it hits the wood and continues down the lane.


Condition in which the lane conditioner is applied from the foul line farther than normal. There is no magic standard, but 35-40 feet or more of application was considered long oil.

In today’s market, long oil is anything that is over 40 feet long. 35 feet is now considered short oil.


An extra-wide hook ball, usually slow with lots of revs.


The hardwood is used for the head portion of the lanes (foul line to arrows).


Bias in a bowling ball occurs when the weight block or part of the weight block is more visible to one direction within the ball.


Bowlers compete against each other in a match. The winner of a tournament-style match often moves on to compete in the next round.


When a pin slides across the pindeck and hits another pin it is called the messenger.


In competitive play, the total number of pins (including bonus, if any) under 200.


Negative weights are used to slow down a ball that tends to hold back the hook and/or get the ball into a roll sooner. Negative bottom-weight, negative side weight, and thumb weight are all considered bad weights.


A game that requires the player to hit certain spots on a ball in order to score a strike; in some cases, there are no-tap events with nine (9) pins on the first ball scored as a strike; eight or more pins on the first ball is considered a strike.

Nose hit

When the first ball hits the pins dead on the center of the 1st pin.


A frame is when you leave pins standing. You neither get a strike nor a spare.


Bowling for fun, instead of competing in a league or tournament.


An area from which the ball cannot reach the pocket with its usual break. For example, if a right-handed bowler delivers the ball from too far to the right, it is said to be out of bounds.


The number of pins scored over 200. Scoring a 215 would be “15 over”.


The point on the ball that is equidistant from all points of the release ball track.


To a professional bowler, a 200 game.


  • A game of all strikes
  • Twelve strikes in a row
  • A score of 300


The 1-2-4-7 or 1-3-6-10 spares.


The area on which the pins are set. The pin deck area is 60′ from the foul line where pins stand.


  • Out or In. A drilling term that is relative to a bowler’s track designed purposely for creating more ball dynamics.
  • A Pin-in ball (when the pin is located within two inches of the Center of Gravity) is an excellent choice for control and less hook;
  • a Pin-out ball usually can be made to hook more and flip more dramatically than pin-in balls; they often give the driller more options.


The area behind the pin deck is a good place to aim for. The end of the lane is also a good place to aim for.


The angle at which the holes in a ball are drilled.


When playing against others, the amount of pins you score above a 200 average is your “plus” score. So if you score 1,752 for eight games, then your “plus” score is 152.


The best place for the ball to hit the pins in order to get a strike is generally between the 1-3 pins (right-hand player) or the 1-2 pins (left-hand player). This is the target for the first ball in a frame.


Positive weights are those that help the ball fly over or into a roll at the end of a lane. Top weight, positive side weight, and finger weight are all considered good weights. These are categorized as static weights that may be drilled into a ball.


To finish with consecutive strikes, from any frame on.


The ball is pushed out (forward) to start the swing (simultaneously with the first step of the four-step approach.)


This tells how quickly a ball starts rotating after it is released by the bowler.


Markers in the lane that help the bowler determine the target line are located ten feet past the foul line and seven feet apart. There are also range finders at thirty-five and forty feet down the lane per USBC rules.


Resetting the pins to a new full rack due to a perceived misplacement of one or more pins.


The number of times the ball rotates around its own axis starting from when it is released until it contacts the pins. High revs are better.


A thrown ball that loses its side rotation before hitting the pins. Essentially, the hook action stops at that point and the ball straightens out.


Keeping a low average is done intentionally so that the player can get a larger handicap.


The score the bowler makes without any handicap adjustment.


Six strikes in a row.


What the ball does when it hits the lane surface; all balls need to slide before hooking.


A rear pin that is not easily seen because of a pin directly in front of it.


A weak hit that leaves the 5-7, 5-10 or 5-7-10 split. This is also called the “lily”.


The distance between the thumb and finger holes on a bowling ball is called the span.


When you knock the rest of the pins down on your second ball.


Various combinations of pins remain standing after a first throw where a space has been created between standing pins making it harder to get a spare.


A method of aiming the ball in which spots (arrows and dots) on the lane are used as targets rather than looking at the pins during the throw.


Knocking down all 10 pins with the first throw of a frame.


Although it appeared to be a perfect hit, one pin was left standing.


Three consecutive strikes.


A perfect game of getting 12 strikes in a row.


Drilling a ball so that there is more weight above the label than there is below. The ball is said to have positive weight.


A dummy score is a score used when a team does not have the same number of players as other teams. This score is set by the league and carries a handicap the same as if some bowler was carrying that average.


An extra hole is drilled into the ball to relieve suction in the thumb hole. Not used for a grip hole.


A “split” with the head pin standing; represented by “W”; not making a spare is considered a blow or an error rather than a split.


A weight block is an interior portion of a ball that adds extra weight to it in order to bring the total gross weight up. The position of the weight block is utilized to create balls with varying weighted distributions, as well as those with specific positive and negative weights.

Final Comments

We hope you have liked our bowling lingo post. For more bowling terms and more bowling lingo check out our friends at tripod.

Getting a strike in bowling is something that all bowlers strive for. When you get a strike, it means that all of the pins are knocked down in one go. There are a few different techniques that you can use to try and get a strike.

One technique is to aim for the pocket. The pocket is the area at the end of the lane where most of the pins are usually knocked down. If you can aim your ball for the pocket, you’re likely to get a strike or at least a spare.

Again if you think our bowling terms list is missing any bowling terms, please comment them down below.

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