Curling Terms


    Curling has a number of unique terms.  Below is a list of many terms used by curlers in games or to describe situations about the game.  This is not necessarily a complete list, but a list of common terms. 

    A

    Anti-freeze 
    A very rare and extremely difficult shot in which a stone is delivered so that it will come to rest behind another stone already in play, created the same effect as if one stone had been frozen to the other
    Anti-slider 
    Synonymous with gripper
    Arena ice 
    Temporary curling ice made quickly on a hockey rink or the like, most often used by curling clubs without dedicated curling facilities; usually of lower quality than that of a dedicated facility, but when created for televised events or events with large numbers of spectators, the ice quality can rival or even exceed that of a dedicated facility

    B

    Back board 
    The border at the extreme ends of the sheet
    Back-house weight 
    Delivery speed required for a stone to come to rest in the back half of the house
    Back line 
    The line right behind the house. If a rock completely crosses the back line, it is removed from play
    Back of the House 
    The portion of the house behind the tee line
    Back ring 
    The portion of the 12 foot ring behind the tee line
    Barrier 
    A board or other object behind the hack, used to stop moving stones; referred to as "bumper" in Canada
    Barrier weight 
    Delivery speed that should come to rest against the barrier behind the hack
    Biter 
    A stone that barely touches the outside of the house, ie. the 12-foot ring
    Bite stick 
    A piece of equipment used to determine whether or not a stone is a biter
    Blank end 
    An end in which no stones are touching the house, and thus no points are scored; in regular play the team that has the hammer retains it for the next end. In skins games, the skin for a blanked end is carried over. To "blank an end" means to intentionally leave no stones in the house so as to retain the hammer.
    Blanking an end 
    Deliberately creating a blank end for the purposes of retaining the last rock advantage for the next end of play
    Board weight 
    Throwing a stone with enough speed that it will come to rest in an area just behind the hacks—about 6 feet behind the house
    Bonspiel 
    Scots for league match, this is the term used for a curling tournament. Compare spiel
    Brier 
    The Canadian men's curling championship, held annually since 1927
    Broom 
    An implement with which players sweep the ice to make a stone travel farther and curl less; though brushes have completely replaced brooms, the traditional name remains
    Broomstacking 
    See stacking the brooms
    Brush / brushing 
    Broom / Sweeping
    Bump 
    Slang for raise
    Bumper 
    The barrier
    Bumper weight 
    Synonymous with board weight
    Buried 
    rock that is hidden behind another rock, usually a guard, making it difficult for a curler to hit with a delivered rock. Also called "covered"
    Burn 
    To accidentally touch a moving stone; the opposing skip has the option to remove the burned stone, or leave it where it comes to rest
    Button 
    The centre (bullseye) of the house; sometimes called the 1-foot circle

    C

    Calling the shot 
    When the skip holds the broom where he/she wants the person delivering the stones to aim. When the skip is delivering, the third calls the shot
    Capital One Grand Slam of Curling 
    A series of eight premier men’s and women’s events that feature Canada’s deepest and strongest curling fields
    Cashspiel 
    A tournament with significant entry fees and large prizes, sometimes part of a charity event; despite the large prizes, cashspiels are not the premier events in curling
    Centre guard 
    guard that is placed directly on the centre line, in front of the house; often used when a team does not have the hammer, but needs to score (steal)
    Centre line 
    A line running lengthwise down the centre of the ice, used as a visual aid; some sheets do not have a centre line, or do not have one between the hog lines
    Chip 
    A takeout that hits a rock at an angle
    Chip and lie / chip and roll 
    When a played stone strikes the edge of another stone and moves to another position in play
    Circus shot 
    A flashy but low-percentage shot. Also Trick shot
    Clean 
    To brush the ice lightly in front of a moving rock to remove any debris and ensure a correct line; less vigorous than a sweep
    Club 
    The location of the curling rink; most players usually refer to it as "The Club"
    Come-around 
    Any shot that curls around another rock
    Coming home 
    Going into the final (10th) end
    Control weight
    A takeout shot that is slow enough that the sweepers have relative control over its curl; harder than board weight, but slower than normal weight
    Corner guard 
    A type of guard that is off to the side of the house; usually employed when a team has the hammer and needs to score multiple points
    Counter 
    A stone in the house lying closer to the centre than any of the opponent's stones
    Cover 
    Protection given to a rock by a rock in front of it
    Curl 
    Movement of a moving rock away from a straight line.; as a verb, to play at curling
    Curler 
    General term for player involved in a curling team; also known as a "soofter" in the UK
    Curling 
    A team sport which involves sliding granite stones on ice and sweeping in front of them with brooms to direct them to desired placements
    Curling club 
    Synonymous with club
    Curling pin 
    A participation souvenir, generally worn on a sweater; there is a sub-culture at any major bonspiel built around trading pins. Most curling clubs and many tournaments produce one, and they are usually not awards
    Curling stick 
    A device that permits a player to deliver a stone while standing upright; generally used by older players, these are legal in most games.

    D

    Dead handle 
    Synonymous with no handle
    Delivery 
    Process of throwing a stone
    Die! 
    A call given by the skip for the sweepers to stop sweeping a rock
    Double takeout / Double 
    A takeout shot in which two other stones are removed from play; a shot in which the delivered stone and one other stone are removed is not a double takeout.
    Draw 
    A shot that lands in play without hitting another stone out, as opposed to a takeout shot. Also refers to a game, e.g., “We have a draw at 7:00 p.m. tonight.”
    Draw raise 
    A shot in which the played stone pushes a stone straight forward into the house
    Drawmaster 
    Person who assigns teams to different sheets, sets starting times, assigns players to teams in casual play, etc.
    Draw weight 
    Delivery speed required for a stone to come to rest in the house
    Dump the handle (also Flip or Turn-Out/Turn-In) 
    During delivery of a stone, the thrower accidentally pushes the stone off-course with their turning motion; often the result of using the arm to shove the stone, and usually causes a missed shot.

    E

    Eight-ender 
    An end where all eight stones score for one team - a very rare occurrence
    End 
    Similar to an inning in baseball; in an end, each team throws 8 rocks, 2 per player in alternating fashion; tournament style games usually run for 10 ends; games played at the club level usually run for 8 ends
    Extra ends 
    Overtime in a tied game

    F

    Fall 
    A defect in the ice which causes stones thrown in that area to curl negatively
    Falling 
    As the stone is sliding down the sheet, it curls negatively, i.e., the opposite direction than it's supposed to
    Flash 
    To completely miss an attempted takeout; the rock passes through the house without touching any rocks at all
    Fourth 
    The player throwing the last two rocks for a team; since the skip almost always throws the last two rocks, this term is rarely used
    Free-Guard Zone 
    Area between the hog line and the tee line, excluding the house
    Free-Guard Zone Rule 
    The rule that states that an opponent's rock resting in the free-guard zone cannot be removed from play until the first four rocks of an end have been played
    Freeze 
    A precise draw weight shot where a delivered stone comes to rest against a stationary stone, making it nearly impossible to knock out
    Front end 
    A team's lead and second, considered as a unit
    Front-house weight 
    Delivery speed required for a stone to come to rest in the front half of the house
    Front of the House 
    The portion of the house closer to the hog line
    Front ring
    The portion of the 12 foot ring in front of the tee line
    Frost 
    Buildup that can occur on ice surfaces when there is excessive humidity in the air; tends to makes stones stop faster and curl less
    Fun Spiel 
    Bonspiel oriented to recreational/fun play, often shorter duration games, and may have unusual formats

    G

    Guard 
    A rock that is placed in front of another rock to protect it from being knocked out by the other team, or placed with the intent to later curl another rock around it and thus be protected; typically placed between the hog line and the very front of the house
    Gripper 
    A rubber or other material attached to a curling shoe to improve traction on the ice; also known as an anti-slider; see Slider

    H

    Hack 
    Similar to a starting block in track and field, the foothold device where the person who throws the rock pushes off for delivery
    Hack weight 
    The weight required to deliver a stone in order that it travels to the hack at the far end
    Hackweight takeout 
    A slower played takeout that, because of the reduced speed, curls more and therefore can reach opponent stones that are hidden behind a guard
    Hammer 
    The last rock in an end - a huge advantage; the team with the last rock is said to "have the hammer"
    Handle 
    The part of the stone held by the player; "Losing the handle" refers to a rock which stops curling or which changes direction of curl while moving
    Handshake
    Each team traditionally shakes hands with each member of the opposing team at the end of a match as a sign of goodwill. Unlike other sports, curlers can, and are often encouraged to, forfeit the game early out of sportsmanship if the score is badly lopsided or if it is impossible for a team to win with the remaining number of rocks. To signal their forfeit, the losing team shakes the hands of the other team. This can simply be called "shaking", as in "the Smith team shook after 7 ends".
    Hard! 
    Command – along with "hurry" – shouted by the skip to tell the sweepers to sweep harder and faster
    Heavy 
    A stone that is thrown harder than required and will probably slide too far
    Heavy ice 
    Slow ice on which stones take more initial force to travel a similar distance on fast ice
    Hit and roll 
    A takeout rock that, after making contact with another rock, slides (rolls) into a designated area
    Hit and stay 
    A takeout where the played stone stays in the spot where it made contact with the stationary stone; also called 'hit and stick'
    Hit weight 
    Another term for take-out weight
    Hog 
    Synonymous with hogger
    Hog line (far)
    The line which the stone must completely cross to be considered in play
    Hog line (near)
    The line by which the stone must be clearly and fully released by the thrower
    Hog line violation 
    Failure to release a stone before crossing the near hog line
    Hogger 
    A shot that comes to rest short of or on the far hog line and is removed from play
    House 
    The three concentric circles where points are scored
    Hurry! 
    see hard!

    I

    Ice (more, less, too much, not enough) 
    Adjustment to the crosswise distance between the skip's broom and the desired target area; for example, a player who feels that the skip's broom is too close to the target might request "more ice"
    Icemaker 
    Person who is responsible for maintaining the icel duties include, but are not limited to pebbling and scraping the ice
    In-off 
    A shot where the delivered stone hits another stone near the outer edge of the sheet at an angle, making the shooter roll into the house; one of the most difficult curling shots, usually done as a last resort when there are no other options
    In-turn 
    A shot in which the handle of the stone is rotated across the body (the elbow is rotated "in" to the body); for a right-handed thrower, an in-turn is clockwise, and the opposite for a lefty
    Inside 
    Another term for narrow

    K

    Keen ice 
    Fast ice on which stones travel great distances
    Kizzle kazzle 
    A delivered stone that is intentionally wobbled to compensate for water, slush or snow on the ice surface

    L

    Lazy handle 
    When the rotation of a stone is very slow, i.e., less than one full rotation during the stone's slide; often the result of thrower error, they will usually curl more than a properly delivered stone; may turn into a No Handle or Reverse Handle
    Lead 
    The player who throws the first two rocks for a team
    Lie 
    The count of the number of stones of one colour closest to the center of the button, closer than the innermost stone of the other colour
    Line
    The path of a moving stone; a 'good' line indicates it is headed where it was intended to go; a 'bad' line has deviated
    Light 
    A stone that is not thrown hard enough
    Little rocks
    Many clubs offer a Little Rocks program for children, with rocks that are roughly half the weight of regular 44 lb. rocks. Curlers generally move onto full-sized rocks around the ages of 10 to 12.
    Losing the handle 
    A rock that is "losing the handle" refers to a rock which stops curling or which changes direction of curl while moving
    Lost turn 
    Synonymous with no handle
    LSFE 
    Last Stone in the First End

    M

    Mate 
    Name given to the player who throws the fifth and sixth rocks for a team, also known as a third or vice-skip
    Measure stick 
    Equipment used to determine which of two or more stones is closest to the centre when they are too similar to know with visual inspection

    N

    Narrow 
    A stone delivered off the broom too close to the desired target and therefore likely to curl past it
    Negative ice 
    A shot in which the player curls the stone in the opposite direction in which the stone is expected to curve, due to significant defects in flatness of the ice surface; for example, if the curvature of the ice causes all stones to drift sharply to the right, a skip may request the shooter to aim to the left of the desired location and curve the stone to the left as well.
    Never 
    Called during the sweep to indicate the stone needs to curl and the sweepers should stay off the rock
    No handle 
    A rock delivered without a turn, usually done in error; stones thrown without a handle often follow an unpredictable path
    Normal weight
    Normal takeout weight; faster than control weight, but slower than peel
    Northern Mixed 
    An event format where teams must have at least one person of the opposite sex on the team

    O

    Off! 
    A call given by the skip for the sweepers to stop sweeping a rock
    Off the broom 
    An incorrectly aimed shot; opposite of on the broom
    Open 
    A rock that is not obscured by another rock from the shooter's perspective; a skip will often ask the shooter how "open" a certain rock appears from the hack, with the rock being totally open, partially obscured (such as "half open") or completely covered; also, a term for any shot not involving going around a guard: an open takeout, an open draw, etc.
    On the broom 
    A correctly aimed shot that starts out directly at the broom held by the skip; opposite of off the broom
    Outside 
    Another term for wide
    Out-turn 
    A shot in which the handle of the stone is rotated away from the body – the elbow is rotated "out" from the body; for a right-handed thrower, an out-turn is counter-clockwise, and the opposite for a lefty

    P

    Pancake 
    rock
    Pebble 
    Small droplets of water intentionally sprayed on the ice that cause irregularities on the surface, allowing the rocks to curl. Also a verb; the action of depositing water droplets on the ice, as "to pebble the ice between games"
    Peel 
    A takeout that removes a stone from play as well as the delivered stone. These are usually intentional
    Peel weight 
    A stone delivered with a heavy takeout weight
    Pick 
    Occasionally, a foreign particle such as a hair will be picked up by the running surface, causing the rock to deviate from its expected path, usually by increasing friction and thereby the amount of curl
    Pin 
    Spot at the exact centre of the house
    Playdowns 
    Competitive play towards club, state/provincial, national, and world championships
    Promote 
    Another name for a raise; usually means to raise a guard into the house and make it a potential counter
    Port 
    A space between two stones just wide enough for a delivered stone to pass through

    R

    Raise 
    A shot in which the delivered stone bumps another stone forward
    Raise takeout 
    A shot in which the delivered stone bumps a second stone which in turn knocks a third stone out of play. Also called a runback
    Reading the ice 
    When a curler considers how the condition of a sheet of ice will influence the path of a thrown stone, similar to how a golfer reads the undulations and texture of a green before determining where and how hard to hit a putt
    Reverse handle 
    When a stone is thrown with a particular turn, but it eventually stops and begins to rotate in the opposite direction; usually the result of a pick or poor ice conditions. Sometimes it may even reverse twice in one shot, creating unpredictable shots that follow an S-shaped path.
    Right off! 
    A call given by the skip to tell the sweepers to neither sweep nor clean the rock; as compared to off!, which tells the sweepers to stop sweeping but not necessarily to stop cleaning)
    Rings 
    The house
    Rink
      1. A curling team. Often used with a location ("the Manitoba rink") or the name of the skip ("the Smith rink").
      1. A building housing the ice sheets ("the curling rink")
      1. Sometimes used as a synonym for sheet
    Roaring Game, The 
    Slang for the game of curling, it's the sound a stone makes while sliding along the ice
    Rock 
    The device thrown by curlers during the game. It is made of granite and has a standard weight of 19.6 kg (44 lb). Also called a stone
    Roll 
    Any movement of a stone after striking another
    Rotation 
    Description of a spinning rock
    Rub 
    When a moving stone barely touches another stationary stone; less contact than a chip
    Run 
    A section of the curling sheet that is dipped or troughed that can prevent a stone to curl or draw down its normal path of travel
    Runback
    See raise takeout
    Running surface 
    The part of the rock which comes in contact with the ice. It is about 7 mm wide (0.25 inches)

    S

    Scraper 
    A device used by the Ice maker to smooth the ice after a period of extended play; usually performed in conjunction with pebbling
    Second 
    The player who throws the third and fourth rocks for a team and sweeps for all other players on their team
    Second shot 
    The second closest rock to the button
    Sheepskin 
    A wide brush, traditionally made of sheepskin, which is used to clean the ice of any loose debris, typically during the mid-game break (commonly after the 5th end of tournament play)
    Sheet 
    The area of ice that on which one game is played
    Shot rock / shot stone
    The rock in the house closest to the button; the next closest rocks are second shot and third shot. To "be shot" means to have shot rock.
    Silver Broom 
    The curling world championships from 1968-1985
    Skip 
    The player who calls the shots and traditionally throws the last two rocks; typically the best player on the team. As a verb, to "skip" means to lead one's rink
    Slide 
    The forward movement of a player during the delivery of a stone
    Slider 
    A piece of Teflon or similar material attached to a curling shoe that allows the player to slide along the ice
    Spiel 
    Scots for matchgame or competition, this is the term used for a curling competition between members of the same club or community, for example parish spiel; also used as an abbreviation for Bonspiel. Compare Bonspiel.
    Spinner 
    A stone traveling with a rapid rotation. Stones thrown in this manner will curl only a small amount, if at all
    Split 
    A draw shot in which the played stone hits on the side of a stationary stone and both move sideways and stay in play. Not to be confused with split the house
    Split the House 
    A strategy of drawing to a different area of the house to prevent your opponent from taking out both stones
    Stacking the brooms 
    Slang for socializing with teammates and opponents, often over a drink, after a game
    Steal 
    Scoring in an end without the hammer
    Stone 
    rock
    Straight handle 
    Synonymous with no handle
    Straight ice 
    Ice on which stones curl less than usual
    Sweep 
    To brush the ice in front of a moving stone, which causes it to travel farther and curl less
    Swing the stick around 
    To use the measuring device to determine shot rock
    Swingy ice 
    Ice on which stones curl more than usual

    T

    Takeout 
    A rock that hits another rock and removes it from play
    Takeout Weight 
    The weight required when delivering a stone in order to make a takeout
    Tap back 
    Use of the delivery stone to tap another rock towards the back of the house
    Tee 
    The centrepoint of the house, where the tee line crosses the centre line; the stones' distances from the tee determine the score for each end
    Tee line 
    The line that goes across the house intersecting with the middle of the button, splitting it into two halves
    Thick / thin 
    The degree of contact between two rocks; the thicker the hit, the more contact between the stones; a hit with a small amount of contact is thin.
    Third 
    The player who throws the fifth and sixth rocks for a team; also vice-skip
    Third shot 
    The third closest rock to the button
    Tick 
    A shot that bumps a guard out of the way without removing it from play, to avoid violating the Free Guard Zone Rule; usually played with lead rocks late in a game to prevent the trailing team from setting up a steal
    Tight 
    Another term for narrow
    Time
    At professional levels sweepers use a timer to measure the time between the start of the delivery and the rock hitting the hog line, and will then call out that time as an indicator of the shot's weight. "Time" can also refer to the amount of time left on the game clock
    Tournament of Hearts 
    The Canadian women's curling championship, held annually since 1982; other women's tournaments were held previously
    Trick shot 
    A flashy but low-percentage shot; also Circus shot
    Triple 
    A takeout shot in which three other stones are removed from play
    True mixed 
    An event format where the teams must have two men and two women, played in alternating positions

    U

    Up! 
    Command shouted by a skip – sometimes "off!" or "whoa!" – to tell sweepers to stop sweeping (to bring the brooms "up" off the ice)

    V

    Vice-Skip or Vice 
    The player who throws the fifth and sixth rocks for a team; also acts as the skip while the latter throws the last two rocks; also third or mate

    W

    Weight 
    The amount of speed with which a rock is delivered; more weight corresponds to a harder throw. When used in a phrase such as "tee-line weight", it refers to the delivery speed required for the rock to come to rest on the tee-line.
    Wick 
    A shot where the played stone touches a stationary stone just enough that the played stone changes direction
    Wide 
    A stone delivered off the broom to the side away from the desired target, and therefore unlikely to curl far enough to reach it
    Whoa! 
    Synonymous with off
    Wobbler 
    A stone that rocks from side to side as it travels because it is not resting on its running surface
    Wrecked shot 
    A missed shot caused by an accidental chip or wick off of another stationary stone

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