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Common Curling Terms

Curling, probably more than any other sport, has its own unique terminology (like hurry hard and burning a rock, among others). Here are the key curling words and phrases you need to know to blend in at your next bonspiel:


General Terms:

Bonspiel:  A tournament in which curlers compete.
Broom / Brush:  A device used to sweep the ice in the path of a moving stone
Cash Spiel:  A tournament in which curlers compete for money.
Draw:  During a bonspiel or championship event, this refers to the round of games being played (i.e. 1st draw = 1st round). For club leagues, generic term for a curling season. See Game Play Terms for additional meaning.
Eight-Ender:  In the team disciplines, a perfect end where every one of the team’s stones scores a point.
End:  The way a curling game is divided. An end is like an inning in a baseball game. A curling game has either eight or ten ends.
Gripper:  The sole of one of your curling shoes. It helps you keep your footing on the ice. See slider.
Hammer:  The last rock of the end.
Last Shot/Stone Draw (LSD):  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.
Rink:  A curling team; also, the name of a curling facility.
Rock:  Also known as a stone, the granite playing utensil that a curler delivers. Regular-sized rocks weigh approximately 44 pounds.
Slider:  The sole of one of your curling shoes. It helps you move or slide along the ice.
Thinking Time: A competition timing system where the clock for each time counts down when rocks are not in play and teams are “thinking” about the next shot. Each team starts with the same amount of time and the match must conclude before the clock runs out or that team will forfeit regardless of the current score.


Ice/Equipment Terms:

Button: The very center of the target rings or house.
Hack: The foothold in the ice you use to push off from when you deliver the stone.
House:  Also known as the rings, this is the name of the giant bull’s eye at either end of the sheet of ice. It consists of a set of concentric circles, called the 12-foot, 8-foot, 4-foot, and the button.
Sheet:  The ice surface on which the game is played.
Tee line:  The line on the playing surface that runs through the middle of the house.
Weight:  The amount of force used to deliver a stone.


Game Play Terms:

Across the Face: To play a rock such that it will curl from one side of a stone already in play to the other side (with or without contact)
Away End: The end of the playing sheet that rocks are delivered to first (odd number ends).
Backing: A situation where there are stones in play behind the location the skip is calling such that should the rock be heavy it would make contact with the in-play stones
Biter / Biting: A rock that is just barely touching the house / ring
Burning a rock: A rules infraction that happens when a player touches a stone as it’s traveling down the sheet.
Clean: To lightly sweep in front of a stone to ensure there is no debris, but not so much as to affect the path of the stone
Curl: Sweeping action that aids the natural curl of the delivered stone. Typically done by the outside sweeper at a sharp angle
Delivery: The action of throwing a stone to the other end of the playing surface.
Draw: A shot where the goal is for the rock thrown to stay in play. Usually, the goal is either to draw "to the house" which means the intention is for the rock to stop inside the house (scoring area), or to draw a "guard" which means the intention is for the rock to stop short of the house. See additional meanings under General Terms.
Guard shot: A stone placement that protects stones in the house. Typically placed outside the house
Heavy: A stone that is delivered with more velocity than called by the skip.
High Side: The side of an in-play rock that the delivered stone would hit before crossing the center of the rock
Hit and Roll: A take-out hit to remove a stone and “roll” the shooter or raised stone to a more favorable position
Hit and Stick: A take-out hit to remove a stone and leave the shooter or raised stone on the same line as the removed one (no roll).
Hogged Rock: A delivered rock that does not fully cross the hog line at the end in-play. Delivered stone is removed from play
Home End: The end of the sheet stones are delivered to second (even ends)
Hurry / Hard: A directive given to sweepers by the skip or third, to begin sweeping.
In-Off: Higher degree of difficulty shot where the delivered rock uses an in-play rock to bounce off in order to get to a position not otherwise possible. 
In-Turn: The rotation applied to the handle of a stone that causes it to rotate in a clockwise direction and curl for a right-handed curler.
Keen (Ice): When the ice is "fast" and less momentum is needed to get the rock to the desired target.
Light: When a delivered rock has less velocity than what the skip called
Line: The path of a stone in play. Also used by skip to tell inside sweeper to prevent the rock from curling by sweeping at a sharp angle, thus holding the “line”
Low Side: The side of an in-play rock on the far side of the direction of curl
Narrow: When a delivered stone is inside the location called by the skip at release
Nose: The center of a rock
Out-Turn: The rotation applied to the handle of a stone that causes it to turn and curl in a counterclockwise direction for a right-handed curler.
Raise: To hit an in-play rock with the delivered stone but not remove it from play. Often done with one’s own rock to move into better scoring position
Straight (Ice): Ice surface that does not have much curl when delivered consistently
Swingy (Ice): Ice surface that has excessive curl when delivered consistently
Take Outs:  Shots to remove a stone from play, can be one or more stones (double, triple, etc.)
Wide:  When a delivered stone is outside the location called by the skip at release


Delivery Weights:

“X” Up/Down:  Slightly heavier (up) or lighter (down) than the called weight.
Board:  Just enough weight to reach the end of the sheet, typically a wall or large foam block. Also called Barrier (Scotland), Bumper (Canada)
Control:  A lighter hit weight that allows the sweepers greater influence on the rock
Easy "X":  A lighter weight version of the called weight, typically a hit weight
Firm:  A strong hit weight, typically used to remove multiple rocks or to navigate a tight port. Often visually indicated by touching the shoulder.
Hack:  Just enough weight to reach the hacks. Common visually indicated by touching the ankle.
Just "X":  Typically called when the skip wants no more weight than what is called. Error tolerance - lighter is better 
Normal: The default hit weight for a team when no other weight is indicated. Can be visually confirmed by touching the center of one’s chest. Also referred to as 9.5 seconds, or just 9-5.
Number System (Weights):


1 - High Guard

2 - Standard / Mid Guard

3 - Tight Guard 

In the House:

4 - Front House, 12 foot

5 - Front House, 8 foot

6 - Front House, 4 foot

7 - Tee Line

8 - Back House, 4 foot

9 - Back House, 8 foot

10 - Back House, 12 foot

Peel: Highest level hit weight. Runs very straight down a sheet. Useful for tight ports, multiple rock take-outs, and to clear guards

Scoring Terms:

Blank end: An end where no points are scored.
Steal: An end where the team without the hammer (last rock of the end) scores 
With: To be the team with the hammer or last shot advantage
Without: To be the team without the hammer or last shot advantage