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Curling Terminology

What’s an end? A freeze? How deep do you have to dig to “bury a stone?”  Like any other sport, curling comes with its own unique vocabulary. Check out our glossary so you can talk the talk too.

Backboards: The boards behind the back at either end of the playing area.

Blank End: An end that is scoreless.

Bonspiel: A curling tournament.

Burying a Stone: Placing a shot behind a guard so no part of the rock shows from other end.

Button: The innermost circle surrounding the tee. The button is usually one foot in diameter.

Center Line: A line drawn from one hack to the other, passing through the tee at both ends of the ice.

Circles: The round scoring area, 12 feet in diameter, with concentric circles 1, 4, and 8 feet in diameter.

Come Around: A shot that curls around a guard.

Coming Home: Playing the final end of a game.

Counter: A stone that is in a scoring position.

Curl: The rotating movement of a stone caused by turning the handle.

Delivery: The act of throwing a rock.

Double: Removing two stones from play with one shot.

Draw: Although a draw is normally into the house, any rock where the speed will make it stop between hog line and back line.

Eight-ender: An end in which a team has scored the maximum possible number of points.

End: A division of the game. An end is complete when all sixteen rocks (eight per team) have been thrown. A club game is usually eight ends, or about two hours long.

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

Freeze: A draw that finishes touching or nearly touching another rock.

Front End: The lead and second player on a curling team.

Guard: A rock between the hog line and the house that can be used to protect rocks in the house.

Hack: The rubber starting block embedded in the ice from which the curler begins deliver of a stone.

Hammer: The last rock in an end.

Heavy: A stone that is delivered with more than the desired amount of weight or force.

Heavy Ice: Opposite of fast or keen ice. Heavy ice requires a stone to be thrown with more than normal weight.

Hit: A rock intended to collide with another rock.

Hit and Roll: A takeout that removes a stone, hitting it off center and then moving to a target area.

Hit the Broom: When a curler releases his rock directly on the skip’s target broom.

Hog: A stone that stops short of the far hog line.

Hog Line: A line located 21 feet from each tee. A rock must be released before the near hog line, and travel beyond the far hog line.

House: The round scoring area, 12 feet in diameter, with concentric circles 1, 4, and 8 feet in diameter.

Hurry: A call used by some teams to tell the sweepers to sweep quickly.

In-turn: A rock whose handle is rotated inward toward the body. An in-turn for a right-handed curler rotates clockwise.

Keen Ice: When little effort is required to deliver the rock. Also known as fast ice.

Last Rock: The last rock to be thrown in an end.

Lead: The player who delivers the rink’s first two rocks of each end.

Lie Shot: Having the stone closest to the tee.

Light: A stone that is delivered with less than the desired weight or force.

Long Guard: A guard near the hog line.

Lose Handle: A stone that loses its initial rotating motion during its travel down the rink.

Narrow: A rock delivered inside the intended line of delivery (between the skip’s broom and the target).

Off the Broom: A stone that is not delivered on the line of the skip’s broom.

On the Broom: A shot that started out on a line toward the skip’s broom.

Out-turn: A rock whose handle is rotated outward or away from the body. An outturn for a right-handed curler rotates counter-clockwise.

Pebble: A light spray of water that freezes on contact with the ice creating small bumps that cut down the amount of the ice surface the rock is in contact with.

Port: An opening between two or more rocks that is wide enough to allow a stone to pass through.

Raise: The action of promoting a stone from one position to another closer to or in the house.

Rings: The circles that make up the house.

Rink: A curling team that consists of four players: the skip, third (vice-skip), second, and lead. Also refers to the place where curling is played.

Rock: Stone.

Roll: The movement of a stone after it hits another stone off center.

Second: The player who delivers the team’s third and fourth rocks.

Second Shot: The stone that is second-nearest to the tee.

Sheet: The 146-foot-long area of the ice on which the game is played.

Shot: The stone that is nearest the tee during the play of an end (also known as shot rock). It may also refer to the playing of a stone (i.e., making a shot).

Shot Rock: The rock that is closest to the tee.

Skip: The player who calls the ice and determines the strategy. Almost always plays the last two rocks for his team (but may throw in a different order in some games.

Slide: The part of the delivery after the curler leaves the hack and moves down the ice completing the throwing of the stone.

Slider: A slippery device that is worn on the sliding foot during the delivery of a stone. Usually teflon,plastic or stainless steel.

Steal: What happens when the team that does not have last rock scores a point or points.

Sweeping: Using a brush to polish the ice in an effort to alter the action of the rock.

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

Tee: The center point of the house.

Tee Line: A line passing through the tee at right angles to the center line.

Third: The player who delivers the team’s fifth an sixth rocks and assists the skip in strategy and ice reading.

Vice-skip: See third.

Weight: The amount of force applied to a rock to move it down the ice. Often called by sweepers using a numeric system to represent the stone’s final stopping point.

Wide: A stone that is delivered outside the line of the skip’s brush.

And on the lighter side…

Tough shot: Anything the Skip misses.

Crap shot: Anything you miss.

Blanked end: Nobody had draw weight.

Bury: What you do with your head when you hog your rock in the eighth end.

Double: What you order at the bar when you lose.

Draw weight: Darned if I know!