noun, plural in form but singular in construction
bil·​liards | \ ˈbi(l)-yərdz How to pronounce billiards (audio) \

Definition of billiards

: any of several games played on an oblong table by driving small balls against one another or into pockets with a cue specifically : a game in which one scores by causing a cue ball to hit in succession two object balls — compare pool entry 3

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The word billiards refers to any of various games played on a cloth-topped, cushion-railed rectangular table by driving small, hard balls against one another or into pockets, with a long stick called a cue. Carom, or French billiards, is played with three balls, two white and one red, on a table without pockets. The object is to stroke the white cue ball so that it hits the two object balls in succession, scoring a carom (one point). English billiards is also played with three balls, but on a pocketed table; it is scored in various ways. Snooker is another popular British billiards game. The principal billiards game in North America is pocket billiards, or pool. The Billiard Congress of America controls US tournament play, including the US Open Pockets Billiard Championship, regarded as the world championship.

Examples of billiards in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web On the main floor this added a large billiards room and a large judge’s law library and office. Judy Rose, Detroit Free Press, 22 May 2021 There’s a grand foyer, formal dining room, commercial kitchen, billiards room, den and circular breakfast nook. Jack Flemming, Los Angeles Times, 19 May 2021 The hotel also featured a barbershop, billiards room, bar and a club. Alex Knapp, Forbes, 8 May 2021 Arched doorways navigate the main level, leading to a tile kitchen, formal dining room, indoor-outdoor family room and the home’s largest space — a two-story billiards room under a trio of chandeliers. Jack Flemming, Los Angeles Times, 13 Apr. 2021 The property includes amenities such as a wine cellar, billiards room, poker room, a theater, a full bar, and a gym. Naledi Ushe,, 13 Apr. 2021 The home was transformed by Robert Trown and includes a billiards room, a theater and a wine room. Dallas News, 4 Apr. 2021 On the lower level, there’s a six-car garage, a billiards room and a wine cellar, though the musician doesn’t drink. Janice O'leary, Robb Report, 1 Apr. 2021 The listing boasts a library, media room, study with secluded offices, billiards room, recreation space, guest suite and fitness center in the main house. Emma Austin, The Courier-Journal, 24 Mar. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'billiards.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of billiards

1580, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for billiards

Middle French billard billiard cue, billiards, from bille wooden stick, log — more at billet

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Time Traveler for billiards

Time Traveler

The first known use of billiards was in 1580

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Statistics for billiards

Last Updated

29 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Billiards.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for billiards



English Language Learners Definition of billiards

: any one of several games that are played on a large table by hitting solid balls into one another with the end of a long stick


bil·​liards | \ ˈbil-yərdz How to pronounce billiards (audio) \

Kids Definition of billiards

: a game played by driving solid balls with a cue into each other or into pockets on a large rectangular table

More from Merriam-Webster on billiards

Nglish: Translation of billiards for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of billiards for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about billiards


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