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Curling 101: Glossary

Curling stone at Titletown Winter Games, Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019.
Curling stone at Titletown Winter Games, Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019.

Back line: The line at the back of the house. Rocks completely beyond the line are out of play.

Biter: A stone just touching the outer edge of the house. It could potentially score a point.

Blank end: An end in which no points are scored.

Bonspiels (BAHN-shpeel): Curling tournaments.

Brick: A slang term for the last stone of an end.

Brier: The Canadian Men’s National Championship

Broom: An item used to sweep the ice.

Burned: When a rock is removed from play because of an infraction. It is known as “a burned rock.”

Button: The 1-foot circle at the center of the house.

Center line: The line splitting the length of the ice sheet.

Counter: Any stone in the house. It is a potential point.

Curl: The curve the stone makes as it travels down the ice.

Delivery: The motion of the curler as the stone is being shot.

Double takeout: A takeout shot that clears two opposing stones from the house.

Draw: A scoring shot. It is designed to stop inside or in front of the house.

Draw Shot Challenge: The calculation made by taking the average distance of the Last Stone Draws (LSD), excluding the least favorable LSD, and used, if required, to assist in the determination of ranking after a round robin.

End: Similar to an inning in baseball. One end is complete when all 16 rocks – two per person, eight per team – have been shot. The score is determined at the conclusion of each end. Games are made up of 10 ends.

Extra End: An additional end played to break a tie at the end of regulation.

Free Guard Zone: The area between the hogline and the house. During the first four stones of an end, no stone in this area may be removed from play by the opposition.

Freeze: A form of a draw that stops in front of and next to another rock.

Fourth: The player who shoots fourth for a team in each end. Normally the person who shoots fourth is the skip. This term is only used if that person is not the skip.

Guard: A rock between the hog line and the house used to prevent the opposition from hitting a rock in the house.

Hack: The rubber foothold where curlers begin their delivery. It is located 125 feet from the center of the house.

Hammer: The last stone shot in each end.

Handle: The rotation applied to the stone upon release.

Heavy: The term for a rock that has been thrown too hard.

Heavy Ice: Slow ice. It means the rocks have to be thrown harder.

Hit-and-Roll: Generally, a shot designed to take out an opponent’s rock and then roll the shot rock to a designated spot. It is also possible to play a hit-and-roll off the team’s own rock.

Hog: A stone that fails to reach the far hog line and is removed from play.

Hog line: The line behind which a player must release a stone. It is located 21 feet from the tee. If a stone does not travel beyond the far hog line, it is removed from play.

House: The circular scoring area.

Hurry: A command which instructs players to sweep harder.

In-turn: A shot in which the front of the player’s hand is facing away from the body when the player finishes his delivery. For a right-handed player, the rock will curl from left to right.

Keen Ice: Fast ice. Rocks must be thrown less hard in these conditions.

Last Stone Draw: A contest conducted before every round robin game in which each team delivers a single stone to the tee, or “pin,” at the home end. The resulting distance is measured and can be used to determine which team has the choice of delivering the first or second stone in the first end.

Lead: The first player who shoots for a team in each end.

Light: The term for a rock that has been thrown with too little force.

Narrow: A rock delivered inside the intended line of delivery.

Out-turn: A shot in which the back of the player’s hand is facing away from the body when the player finishes his delivery. For a right-handed player, the rock will curl from right to left.

Pebble: The droplets of water applied to a sheet of ice before a game. They freeze and reduce friction between the stone and the ice.

Peel: A shot to remove a guard or guards.

Picked: The slang term for a rock getting knocked off-line by a foreign object on the ice. The term comes from the phrase, “the rock picked something up.” It is almost always used as a verb – “My rock picked on that last shot.” 

Port: The space between two lying stones, large enough for another to pass through.

Raise: A type of draw that knocks another rock into the house.

Rings: Another term for the house.

Rink: Another name for a curling team. It is made up of four players: the lead, the second, the third and the skip.

Rock: Also known as a stone. Curling stones are made of a rare, dense granite that is quarried on Scotland’s Ailsa Craig. The stones weigh, on average, 42 pounds (19.1 kg) and are polished.

Second: The player who shoots second for a team in each end.

Scotties Tournament of Hearts: The Canadian Women’s National Championship.

Sheet: The playing area. It is 146 feet long and allows play in both directions.

Shot Rock: At any time during end, the stone that is closest to the tee.

Skip: The leader of a curling team. He directs the team’s strategy and shot selection and typically holds a broom as a target for the other three players to shoot at. He usually shoots last.

Slider: The smooth object worn on the sliding foot that allows for a long, smooth delivery.

Straight handle: A stone that is released without any rotation.

Straight ice: A condition in which the ice does not cause the stones to curl very much.

Steal: To score in an end when not shooting the last stone (i.e. the hammer).

“Swingy” Ice: A condition in which the ice causes the stones to curl a lot.

Takeout: A type of shot that removes another rock from play.

Tee: The center of the house. Scoring is determined by which rock is closest to the tee. Also commonly referred to as the “pin.”

Thinking time: The allotted time each team has for a game. Each team's clock begins after the opposing team's shot is considered complete and stops once the next stone is delivered. Essentially the clock only runs when your team is thinking about their strategy for their next shot.

Third: The player that shoots third in each end. The third is also often the vice-skip. 

Vice-skip: The person who stands in the house and directs the game when the skip is shooting. When the skip shoots, the vice-skip holds the broom as the target. The vice-skip is often the third.

Weight: The amount of force with which a rock is shot.

Wide: A rock delivered outside the intended line.