Words We're Watching

8 Ball

An eighth of an ounce of cocaine or some other drug

8 ball definition

What does 8 ball mean?

An 8 ball (also commonly called eight ball) is approximately an eighth of an ounce (ranging from 3 to 3.5 grams) of an illegal drug, most often cocaine.

Where did 8 ball come from?

The term appears to have originated in the mid-1980s, at least in print, and, as the citations below indicate, the going rate for such an item at that time ranged from $300 to $350.

How is 8 ball used?

Cuthbert allegedly sold "an eight ball of cocaine" to an undercover agent for $350.
The Post-Cresent (Appleton, WI), 22 Apr. 1985

Banerdt is accused of selling an "8 ball" of cocaine to an undercover officer for $320 on Jan. 11 and again on Feb. 1, according to court records.
Green Bay Press-Gazette (Green Bay,WI), 18 Jun. 1985

On Oct. 8 a Drug Suppression Team agent purchased an "eight ball" of cocaine — or about four grams — for $300.
Augusta Chronicle (Augusta, GA), 4 Nov. 1986

The suspect demanded an "eight ball" of heroin, money, and the keys to a truck, said Henry, who doesn't own a truck.
Arizona Republic (Phoenix, AZ), 18 May 1993

Words We're Watching talks about words we are increasingly seeing in use but that have not yet met our criteria for entry.

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