Curling Lingo

The following list contains some, but not all of the colorful language you’ll hear out there on the ice. Enjoy!



“Back Line” – The line behind the house. Once crossed, a stone is out of play.

“Biter” – A stone just touching the outer edge of the rings, potentially counting.

“Blank End” – An end in which no stone scores a point.

“Bonspiel” – A curling tournament.

“Broom” – The instrument used to sweep the ice. Brooms with brush heads are most common.

“Button” – The small center of the circles. (in other sports this would be considered the bullseye)

“Center Line” – The line that runs down the middle of the sheet from hack to hack.

“Clean” – To sweep lightly before a stone in order to clear debris.

“Curl” – A twist of the stone’s handle upon release makes the stone curl, or curve, as it travels down the ice. The rock curls in the direction of the turn.

“Delivery” – The body motion of a curler as the rock is being shot.

“Double” – A takeout shot that clears two opposing stones from the house.

“Draw” – A stone played to finish in the house. An instruction to play such a stone.

“Draw Weight” – An indication of the momentum needed for a stone to finish in the house.

“End” – Component of a game, during which eight stones are played by each team in the same direction.

“Extra End” – The deciding end played when the score is level after all scheduled ends have been played.

“Freeze” – A draw that finishes touching another rock.

“Frosty Ice” – Ice with frost on the surface, caused by high humidity.

“Give Ice” – To hold a brush for a player to aim at, as a skip to indicate the amount of ice needed to draw to a target.

“Guard” – A stone played to protect another stone.

“Guard Weight” – An indication of the momentum needed for a stone to finish in front of the house.

“Hack” – The block at each end of a sheet, usually made of rubber, which provides a foothold from which the stones are played.

“Hammer” – The last rock of each end.

“Handle” – Term to denote the rotation applied to a stone upon release.

“Heavy Ice” – When the ice is slow and the rocks have to be thrown harder.

“Hog” – A stone which fails to reach the hog line and is removed from play.

“Hog Line” – The line each played stone has to cross in order to remain in play.

“House” – The circles which a stone has to reach in order to score.

“Hurry” – A command shouted by the skip or shooter to tell the sweepers to sweep.

“In-Turn” – Slight rotation applied to a stone where the playing hand turns in towards the player (clockwise for right-handed players and vice-versa for left-handed).

“Keen Ice” – When the ice is fast and less momentum is need to get the rock to the desired target.

“Lead” – The player who delivers the first two rocks at each end, alternating with the opponent’s lead.

“Narrow” – A rock delivered inside the intended line of delivery.

“Out-Turn” – Slight rotation applied to a stone where the playing hand turns out from the player (clockwise for left-handed player and vice-versa for right-handed).

“Pebble” – The frozen droplets of water applied to a sheet of ice before a game, reducing friction between the stone and the ice.

“Peel” – A takeout shot where both the delivered stone and the struck stone rolls out of play.

“Port” – A space between two lying stones, large enough for another to pass through.

“Raise” – To bump or move a lying stone a short distance further, usually into the house.

“Rink” (1) – The building where curling takes place.

“Rink” (2) – A curling team.

“Rocks” – Also known as stones, curling rocks are made of rare, dense, and polished granite. Each rock weighs 42 pounds.

“Scoring” – Only one rink scores per end, that being the rink with the rock closest to the center of the house. Points are awarded for each rock closer to the center than the opponent’s. The maximum score in an end is eight, which is very rare. Typically one to three points are scored per end. The team with the highest total at game’s end is the winner.

“Second” – The player who delivers the second two rocks of each end for his or her team, alternating with the opponent’s second.

“Sheet” – The 146-foot long ice playing area.┬áThe sheet’s design allows play in both directions.

“Shot” (1) – A played stone.

“Shot” (2) – The word used to indicate the rock that is currently closes to the button.

“Skip” – The player who holds the broom as a target for shots by the other three players. Skips are also the team strategists and must study, or read the ice; anticipate the amount of curl, and then call the shots. Skips usually throw the last two rocks of each end.

“Slider” – Worn over the shoe on the sliding foot in the delivery of a stone to allow a long, smooth motion and follow through. Specially made curling shoes have sliders built in.

“Steal” – To score shots in an end when you didn’t have last stone.

“Stone” – The piece of granite we all love and cherish.

“Straight Ice” – When the ice conditions do not allow the stones to curl much.

“Sweeping” – Players sweep to make the rock travel farther or to keep it from curling more than desired. Good sweepers can increase the distance a stone travels by as much as 15 feet. Sweeping creates a thin film of water under the rock, allowing it to glide easier. Two players are ready to sweep each shot.

“Swingy Ice” – When ice conditions cause stones to curl greatly.

“Takeout” – A type of shot that removes another rock from play.

“Tee Line” – The horizontal line in center of the house.

“Third” – The player who delivers the third two rocks of each end, alternating with the opponent’s thirds. Also known as the vice skip, this player holds the broom, or target, when the skip shoots and also helps the skip with game strategy.

“Weight” – The momentum applied to a stone for distance.

“Wide” – A rock delivered outside the target line.