Glossary of Curling Terms
thanks to the Utica Curling Club

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Back End Typically, the third and skip.

Back Line The line at back edge of the 12 foot.

Back of the House The portion of the house behind between the tee line and the back line.

Biter A rock which just barely touches the house.

Biter Bar/Stick Measuring stick is used to determine if outlying rocks are in the house. The pointed on one end of the biter bar is inserted into a post in the centre of the button. The bar is then moved around the edge of the house. If it touches a rock, the rock is in the house.

Blank End An end in which no rocks are in the house and neither team scores. The team that had hammer in the blanked end retains hammer in the next end.

Board Weight/Bumper Weight  A shot (typically a takeout) that is thrown with just enough weight to come to rest at or just beyond the backboard.

Bonspiel A curling tournament. .

Broom A hair or synthetic brush used to sweep in front of a rock so that it travels farther and “straighter” and as a stabilizing device when delivering a rock.

Brushing see Sweeping

Burn To touch one of your own rocks with your body or equipment while it is traveling down the sheet. A rock burned between the hog lines is immediately stopped and removed from play. A rock that is burned beyond the far hog line is allowed to continue until it comes to a stop. The person in the house from opposite team can remove the rock from play, move it to where they think the rock would have come to rest, or leave the rock where it came to rest.

Button The centre of the house, surrounded by the 4 foot, 8 foot, and 12 foot rings, and bisected by the centre line and tee line. The button is typically 2 feet in diameter.

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Call Line To indicate to sweepers whether or not to sweep to affect the line of travel of a rock. The person in charge of the house (typically the skip or vice-skip) calls line.

centre Line The line which runs the length of a sheet and divides the sheet in half.

Come Around A shot which curls around another stone. May be a hit or a draw.

Counter A rock that scores.

Curl The curving action of a rock that is delivered down a curling sheet. The amount of curl is determined by a combination of the speed of rotation and weight of a delivered rock and ice conditions.

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Delivery Throwing a stone.

Double Takeout A curling shot that removes two rocks from play.

Draw A curling shot designed to stay in play. Draws may guard other rocks, hide behind rocks, freeze to rocks, or just sit out in the open.

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Eight-Ender An end in which all eight rocks of one team score.

End A period of play in which both teams deliver all 8 of their rocks.

Extra End If a game is tied at the end of the regular number of ends, play continues until one team scores at one point or more and wins the game.

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Fast Ice Where rocks travel further than they would when delivered with the same weight on slow ice.

Flash To completely miss a shot and pass completely through the house without touching other rocks.

Four-Foot Lines Two lines which run the between the hog lines, 2 feet to either side of the centre line.

Free Guard Zone The area outside the house. Any of the first 4 rocks of the game (the leads’ rocks) beyond the far hog line and outside the house (i.e. in the free guard zone) may not be removed from play by the opposing team until the 5th rock (the second’s first rock) is thrown.

Freeze A draw shot that comes to rest against another rock without moving it.

Front End The lead and second.

Front of the House The portion of the house in front of the tee line.

Frost Buildup on ice surface usually caused by high humidity in the ice shed. Frost tends to make stones travel less distance and curl less.

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Gripper A rubber covering pulled over the slide foot when sweeping to provide better traction. Also, the permanent rubber sole on the non-sliding shoe.

Guard A rock delivered in front of the house so that it is directly in line with but a distance above another rock, thus protecting it from a hit by the opposing team. Also, a rock delivered in front of the house so that rocks thrown later can “hide” behind the guard rock.

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Hack Device in the ice 6 feet behind the back line which a curler uses as a toehold while delivering a rock.

Hack Weight A shot (typically a takeout) that is thrown with just enough weight to come to rest at or just beyond the hacks.

Hammer The last rock thrown in an end. Teams with the hammer have the last chance to score in any end. The hammer belongs to the team that did not score in the previous end.

Handle The rotation that a curler puts on a rock during delivery. Rocks that stop rotating part way down the ice are said to have “lost their handle”. Rocks that are accidentally delivered without rotation are said to have “no handle”. Rocks without a handle are unpredictable in their curl and the distance traveled.

Hard!/Harder! A call from the skip to the sweepers to sweep faster and with more pressure. Also Hurry!

Heavy To throw a rock with more weight (force) than required for the called shot. Heavy rocks will travel farther than desired.

High To hit a rock high is to strike a stationary stone off-centre on the side from which the thrown rock is curling.

Hit A curling shot designed to strike another rock with enough force to move the target rock. The target rock may be removed from play or moved a short distance to the advantage of the shooting team.

Hit and Roll A shot that hits a rock and then moves across the sheet to a desired location, usually behind a guard. A hit and roll typically takes out an opponent’s rock.

Hit and stick A shot that hits a rock and remains in the place where it hit the rock.

Hog To throw a rock with insufficient weight (force) to completely cross the far hog line. Hogged rocks are immediately removed from play.

Hog Lines Two lines which run across the sheet 21 feet beyond the tee line.

House The target area at each end of a curling sheet.

Hurry! A call from the skip to the sweepers to sweep faster and with more pressure. Also Hard!

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Ice The distance between the target broom and the desired final location of a shot.

In-off A double take-out which removes an opponent’s or one’s own rock, usually on the outer ring or outside the house, then rolls into the house to remove or displace an opponent’s rock to score.

In-turn A clockwise turn for a right-handed curler (counterclockwise for a left-handed curler).

Inside To throw the rock off the target broom (miss) in the same direction as the intended curl.

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Last Rock see Hammer.

Lead The person on the team who throws the first rock.

Light To throw a rock with less weight (force) than was called for.

Line The path traveled by a rock. The person in the house calls line, i.e. provides the target and calls sweeping to keep the rock on the desired path.

Low To hit a rock low is to strike a stationary stone off-centre on the opposite side from which the thrown rock is curling.

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Measuring Stick Used to determine which of two or more stones is closest to the button when it can’t be determined visually.

Mixed Curling in which teams consist of two men and two women. Positions alternate genders (i.e. if the lead is female, the second will be male, third female, and skip male).

Mixed Doubles Curling in which teams consist of one man and one women. Rules of play involve placement of starting rock for each end. See CCA and WCF rules for more details.

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Narrow see Inside.

Negative Ice Ice condition in which the skip places the target broom on the opposite side of the final location than would normally be used for the called turn. Negative ice is typically employed for some shots on ice with a significant fall.

No Handle see Handle.

Normal Weight A takeout that is thrown with fairly heavy weight and is typically agreed-upon for a team. This takeout weight is heavier than hack weight and board weight.

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Off! A call from the skip to the sweepers to stop sweeping. Also Up! or Whoa! or No!

Off the Broom The person delivering the rock has missed the target broom. A rock thrown too far towards the direction of curl is said to be inside or narrow; if too away from the direction of curl, it is outside or wide.

On the Broom The person delivering the rock has thrown directly at the target broom.

Out-turn A counterclockwise turn for a right-handed curler (clockwise for a left-handed curler).

Outside To throw the rock off the target broom (miss) in the opposite direction as the intended curl.


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Pebble Small droplets of water that are sprinkled on the ice, freezing on contact. Pebble reduces the area of contact of a rock with the ice (and reduces friction).

Peel A shot which removes an opponent’s rock and then spins out of play. Typically used to clear rocks in blocking access to the control zone and/or to clear away any rocks that an opponent might “hide behind”.

Peel Weight A takeout that is thrown with very heavy weight so as to ensure that both the shooter and a target rock both roll out of play, or to move or take out several stones at once.

Pick Occurs when a rock hits or picks up some small debris left on the ice surface. A pick will cause a rock to change direction, handle, or both.

Pin The centre of the button. Designed to accept measuring equipment.

Promote To bump a rock a short distance, typically so that it’s in a more favorable position. Also Tap up/back or Raise.

Port An opening between 2 rocks wide enough for a rock to pass through.

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Raise To bump a rock a short distance, typically so that it’s in a more favorable position. Also Promote or Tap up/back.

Raise Take-out A shot involving 3 rocks. The thrown rock hits the second rock, raising it into the third rock, which is pushed out of play.

Right Off! A call from the skip to the sweepers to stop sweeping.

Rings see House.

Rocks The object thrown or delivered by curlers during a game. Rocks, or stones, are made of granite and weigh between 38 and 44 pounds.

Roll The sideways movement of a rock after it hits another rock off centre.

Rotation Clockwise or counterclockwise spin imparted to a rock upon delivery. A rock typically rotates 2.5 to 3.5 times when traveling the sheet. Also called Turn.

Run A place in the ice where rocks do not travel a normal path because of a depression or trough in the ice. Rocks run straighter than expected in a run.

Running Surface The portion of a curling rock which makes contact with the ice surface. The running surface is a circular ridge, about 1/8 to 1/4 inch wide.

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Scrape To remove ice layers until all sheets are level. Scraping removes old layers of pebble and any dirt. After a scrape, ice is faster than before the scrape.

Second The team member who throws the 3rd and 4th rocks. Part of the front end.

Sheet The field of play for curling, approximately 150 feet long and 15 feet wide.

Shot/Shot Rock The rock that is closer to the centre of the house than any other rock. The second shot is second closest to the centre of the house, etc.

Skip The team member who calls the game: making final strategy decisions, determining shots, and holding the target broom for teammates. Commonly, the skip throws the 7th and 8th rocks, but many skips throw in other positions. Part of the back end.

Slider The slippery surface on the sole of the slide shoe. Typically made of Teflon; metal and brick sliders are also made. Alternatively, a shoe-shaped piece of Teflon that can be attached temporarily to the slide foot.

Slow Ice Ice over which rocks travel less distance than they would when delivered with the same weight on fast ice. Also called heavy ice.

Spinner A rock that has been given too much rotation upon delivery. Spinners do not curl as much as rocks thrown with the proper amount of rotation.

Stabilizer A delivery aid gripped in the hand not holding the rock, used as an alternative to a broom. Pejoratively, referred to as a “crutch.”

Steal To score in an end without the hammer.

Stones The object thrown or delivered by curlers during a game. Stones, or rocks, are made of granite and weigh between 38 and 44 pounds.

Straight Ice Ice on which a rock, given a normal rotation, will curl less than expected – less than 3 feet.

Sweep A call from the skip to the sweepers to sweep. Also Yes. See Hurry and Hard.

Sweeping To move a curling broom back and forth in front of a moving rock. Sweeping is most effective when done quickly and with weight. Sweeping transiently alters the ice surface to reduce the friction between the rock and the ice surface. The rock travels farther and curls less.

Swingy Ice Ice on which a rock, given a normal rotation, will curl more than expected – more than 4 feet.

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Take-out A rock which hits another rock, removing the second rock from play. Hits vary in weight, depending on how far the target rock needs to be moved and how straight the hitting rock needs to run.

Tap Back/Up A gentle hit, in which the thrown rock moves the hit rock a short distance. Tap backs may be used to move your own rock into a favorable position, or to move an opponent’s rock to a position useful for your team. Also Promote or Raise.

Tee Lines The lines crossing the width of a curling sheet through the centre of the house (the tee).

Third The team member who throws the 5th and 6th rocks. Typically, the third is also the vice-skip, and is in charge of the house when the skip throws. Part of the back end.

Tick Shot A shot called so as to barely nick a stationary stone in play and move it aside. Frequently used in late ends by the team with the hammer to move centre guards away from the centre of the sheet, but not remove them from play, which would violate the free guard zone rule.

Tight see Inside.

Triple A shot which removes from play 3 of the opposing teams rocks.

Turn see Rotation.

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Up! A call from the skip to the sweepers to stop sweeping. Also Whoa! or No!

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Vice/Vice-skip The team member who is in charge of the house when the skip throws, holding the broom and call line. The vice-skip is also commonly the third. In Canada, typically the person who tosses the coin to determine which team has last rock in the first end. Part of the back end.

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Weight Typically used to indicate how hard a stone has been thrown. Heavy rocks travel farther, faster, and straighter; light rocks travel less distance, slower, and curl more than heavy rocks.

Weld it On To throw a perfect freeze.

Wick A shot in which the moving rock ticks the edge of a stationary rock, causing it to change direction. Sometimes called a Redirect.

Whoa! A call from the skip to the sweepers to stop sweeping. Also Up! or Whoa! or No!

Wide see Outside.


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