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Curling glossary

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This is a glossary of terms in curling.

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Diagram that shows the number weight calling system as it relates to the ice surface. The tee line has been removed for clarityDuring a game, sweepers might call out numbers. These numbers indicate how far the sweepers think the rock in play will travel. This system is relatively new to the game and is often attributed to the Randy Ferbey rink since they were the first major team to use the system, but it is not known whose idea it originally was. 1 to 3 indicates a rock in the free guard zone, 4 to 6 the rings in front of the tee line, 7 being on the button, and 8 to 10 the rings behind the tee line. Sometimes, 11 is used to indicate a stone thrown so that it passes through the house and out of play. With this system, the sweepers can communicate more effectively where they think the stone will end up or the skip can better tell the deliverer how hard to throw it.
The 12-foot diameter circle outermost in the house. A stone completely outside this circle cannot score.
The 4-foot diameter circle in the house. It surrounds the centre area called the button. It is used as a visual aid only - there is no extra score for placing a stone within it.
The 8-foot diameter circle in the house. It is used as a visual aid only - there is no extra score for placing a stone within it. The 8-foot circle is generally not actually painted - it appears as the empty space between the 12-foot and 4-foot rings.


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.
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, 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.


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.
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.
Scots for league match, this is the term used for a curling tournament. Compare spiel.
The Canadian men's curling championship, held annually since 1927.
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.
See stacking the brooms.
See broom.
Slang for raise.
Bumper Weight 
Synonymous with board weight.
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.
The centre (bullseye) of the house. Sometimes called the 1-foot circle.


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.
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.
Center Guard 
A guard that is placed directly on the center line, in front of the house. Often used when a team does not have the hammer, but needs to score (steal).
Center Line 
A line running lengthwise down the center of the ice, used as a visual aid. (Some sheets do not have a center line, or do not have one between the hog lines.)
A takeout that hits a rock at an angle.
Chip & Lie 
When a played stone strikes the edge of another stone and moves to another position in play.
Chip and Roll 
Synonymous with chip & lie.
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.
The location of the curling rink. Most players usually refer to it as "The Club".
Any shot that curls around another rock.
Control weight
A takeout shot that is slow enough that the sweepers have relative control over its curl. It is 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.
A stone in the house lying closer to the center than any of the opponent's stones.
Protection given to a rock by a rock in front of it.
Movement of a moving rock away from a straight line. As a verb, to play at curling.
General term for player involved in a curling team. Also known as a soofter in UK.
A sport played on ice which involves sliding granite stones to the center of the house.
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.


Dead Handle 
Synonymous with straight handle.
Process of throwing a stone.
Double Takeout (or simply "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.)
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.
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.


An end where all eight stones score for one team - a very rare occurrence.
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.


A defect in the ice which causes stones thrown in that area to curl negatively.
As the stone is sliding down the sheet, it curls negatively (I.E., the opposite direction that it's supposed to)
To completely miss an attempted takeout. The rock passes through the house without touching any rocks at all.
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.
A precise draw weight shot where a delivered stone comes to rest against a stationary stone, making it nearly impossible to knock out.
Front-House Weight 
Deliery 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.
Buildup that can occur on ice surfaces when there is excessive humidity in the air. It 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.


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. Guards are typically placed between the hog line and the very front of the house.
A rubber or other material attached to a curling shoe to improve traction on the ice. Also known as an anti-slider. See also Slider.


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 distant 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.
The last rock in an end - a huge advantage. The team with the last rock is said to "have the hammer".
The part of the stone held by the player. The phrase losing the handle refers to a rock which stops curling or which changes direction of curl while moving.
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".
Command (along with "hurry") shouted by the skip to tell the sweepers to sweep harder and faster.
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.
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.
A shot that comes to rest short of or on the far hog line and is removed from play.
The three concentric circles where points are scored.
see hard!


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".
Person who is responsible for maintaining the ice. Duties of an icemaker include, but are not limited to pebbling and scraping the ice.
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. Jennifer Jones' championship-winning shot at the 2005 Scott Tournament of Hearts was an in-off takeout.
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.
Another term for narrow


Keen Ice 
Fast ice on which stones travel great distances.


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.
The player who throws the first two rocks for a team.
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.
The path of a moving stone. A 'good' line indicates it is headed where it was intended to go; a 'bad' line has deviated.
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.
Last Stone in the First End


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 center when they are too similar to know with visual inspection.


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.
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. See Straight handle.
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.


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.
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.
Another term for wide.
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.


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".
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.
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.
Spot at the exact centre of the house.
Competitive play towards club, state/provincial, national, and world championships.
Another name for a raise. In this instance, it usually means to raise a guard into the house and make it a potential counter.
A space between two stones just wide enough for a delivered stone to pass through.


A shot in which the delivered stone bumps another stone forward.
Raise Takeout 
A shot in which the delivered stone bumps another stone which in turn knocks another 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).
The house.
A curling team. Often used with a location ("the Manitoba rink") or the name of the skip ("the Smith rink"). Also is synonymous with sheet. Sometimes used to describe the building in which the ice sheets are located("the curling rink").
Roaring Game, The 
Slang for the game of curling, it's the sound a stone makes while sliding along the ice.
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.
Any movement of a stone after striking another.
Description of a spinning rock.
When a moving stone barely touches another stationary stone. (Less contact than a chip)
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.
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)


A device used by the Ice maker to smooth the ice after a period of extended play. Usually performed in conjunction with pebbling.
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.
The area of ice that on which one game is played.
Shot Rock 
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.
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.
The forward movement of a player during the delivery of a stone.
A piece of Teflon or similar material attached to a curling shoe that allows the player to slide along the ice.
Scots for match, game 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.
A stone traveling with a rapid rotation. Stones thrown in this manner will curl only a small amount, if at all.
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.
Scoring in an end without the hammer.
A rock.
Straight Handle 
Synonymous with no handle.
Straight Ice 
Ice on which stones curl less than usual.
To brush the ice in front of a moving stone, which causes it to travel farther and curl less.
Swingy Ice 
Ice on which stones curl more than usual.


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.
The absolute center of the house, where the tee line crosses the center line. 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.
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.
Another term for narrow.
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.
The player who throws the fifth and sixth rocks for a team. See vice-skip.
Third Shot 
The third closest rock to the button.
Tournament of Hearts 
The Canadian women's curling championship, held annually since 1982. (Other women's tournaments were held previously)
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.


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


(synonymous with "third" or "mate", and sometimes shortened to "vice") The player who throws the fifth and sixth rocks for a team. The vice-skip also acts as the skip while the latter throws the last two rocks.


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.
A shot where the played stone touches a stationary stone just enough that the played stone changes direction.
A stone delivered off the broom to the side away from the desired target, and therefore unlikely to curl far enough to reach it.
Synonymous with off.
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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Published - January 2009

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