Top 23 Slang For Bowling – Meaning & Usage

Bowling, a beloved pastime for many, has its own unique language and slang that can leave newcomers feeling a bit spare. But fear not! We at Fluentslang have got you covered. We’ve rolled together a list of the top slang terms for bowling that will have you striking up conversations with seasoned bowlers in no time. So lace up your bowling shoes and get ready to spare yourself from any confusion on the lanes!

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1. Turkey

In bowling, a turkey refers to three consecutive strikes. It is considered a significant achievement and is often celebrated by bowlers.

  • For example, a bowler might say, “I just got a turkey!” after achieving three strikes in a row.
  • During a bowling tournament, a commentator might mention, “She’s on fire with back-to-back turkeys.”
  • In a friendly game, a player might exclaim, “I’m going for the turkey!” when they have two strikes in a row.

2. Gutterball

A gutterball is when the ball rolls into the gutter instead of hitting any pins. It is considered a mistake and usually results in a score of zero for that frame.

  • For instance, a bowler might say, “Oops, I threw a gutterball!” after their ball fails to hit any pins.
  • In a casual game, a player might tease their friend by saying, “Nice gutterball! Better luck next time.”
  • A coach might give advice to a beginner bowler, saying, “Try to aim for the arrows to avoid gutterballs.”

3. Sleeper

A sleeper is a pin that is partially or completely hidden behind another pin. It can be challenging to knock down because it is not easily accessible.

  • For example, a bowler might say, “I missed the spare because of the sleeper pin.”
  • During a bowling lesson, an instructor might point out, “You need to adjust your angle to pick up the sleeper pin.”
  • In a friendly competition, a player might exclaim, “I can’t believe I managed to knock down the sleeper pin!”

4. Brooklyn

A Brooklyn is when a bowler knocks down all the pins by hitting the opposite side of the pocket. It is considered a lucky or fortunate strike.

  • For instance, a bowler might say, “I didn’t mean to go Brooklyn, but I’ll take it!” after hitting the opposite side of the pocket.
  • During a bowling tournament, a commentator might mention, “She just got a Brooklyn strike! That’s some impressive skill.”
  • In a friendly game, a player might playfully say, “I’m going for a Brooklyn strike this time!” before releasing the ball.

5. Pocket

The pocket refers to the area between the headpin and the pins on either side. It is the desired target for bowlers to maximize their chances of getting a strike.

  • For example, a bowler might say, “I hit the pocket perfectly and got a strike!” after hitting the desired area.
  • During a bowling lesson, an instructor might advise, “Aim for the pocket to increase your chances of knocking down multiple pins.”
  • In a friendly competition, a player might cheer, “I found the pocket! That’s a strike!” after hitting the desired area.
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6. Double

In bowling, a double refers to scoring two strikes consecutively. It is considered a significant achievement and can greatly increase a player’s score.

  • For example, a bowler might say, “I just got a double in the 5th and 6th frames!”
  • Another bowler might comment, “She’s on fire with three doubles in a row!”
  • A coach might encourage a player, saying, “Keep focusing and aim for that double!”

7. 7-10 Split

The 7-10 split is a term used to describe a specific pin configuration where the 7 and 10 pins are the only ones left standing, with no other pins nearby. It is considered one of the most difficult splits to convert into a spare.

  • For instance, a bowler might say, “I left the 7-10 split again, it’s so frustrating!”
  • Another bowler might exclaim, “Wow, he actually made the 7-10 split, that’s impressive!”
  • A commentator might explain, “Converting the 7-10 split requires a perfectly timed shot and a bit of luck.”

8. Washout

A washout refers to a specific pin configuration where the headpin (the front pin) is left standing along with one or more pins on the opposite side of the lane. It is considered a challenging spare to pick up.

  • For example, a bowler might say, “I left a washout, I’ll need to use the left side of the lane to pick it up.”
  • Another bowler might ask for advice, saying, “Any tips on how to consistently convert the washout?”
  • A coach might analyze a player’s technique, saying, “You need to adjust your angle to increase your chances of converting the washout.”

9. Loft

In bowling, loft refers to the act of releasing the ball with a higher trajectory, causing it to travel farther down the lane before making contact with the pins. It is a technique used by some bowlers to create more hook or to control the ball’s reaction.

  • For instance, a bowler might say, “I need to loft the ball to get it over the oil pattern and into the pocket.”
  • Another bowler might comment, “He’s lofting the ball to generate more backend motion.”
  • A coach might advise a player, saying, “Try lofting the ball slightly to delay its reaction and increase your carry percentage.”

10. Messenger

In bowling, a messenger refers to a pin that travels horizontally across the lane after the initial impact, knocking down other pins in its path. It is often seen as a lucky break and can result in a higher score.

  • For example, a bowler might say, “I got lucky with a messenger that took out the 10-pin.”
  • Another bowler might exclaim, “Did you see that messenger? It saved my frame!”
  • A commentator might describe a shot, saying, “The ball deflected off the headpin and sent a messenger to clear the remaining pins.”

11. Bucket

This term is used to describe when a bowler leaves the 3-6-9-10 split, which resembles a bucket shape. It can also refer to leaving any difficult split.

  • For instance, a bowler might say, “I left a bucket on that last frame.”
  • In a bowling league, someone might comment, “I hate it when I leave a bucket. It’s such a tough spare to pick up.”
  • Another bowler might ask for advice, “Any tips on how to convert the bucket split?”

12. Strikeout

A strikeout refers to when a bowler scores three consecutive strikes in a single game. It is a significant achievement and often celebrated.

  • For example, a bowler might say, “I just had a strikeout in the 5th, 6th, and 7th frames!”
  • In a friendly competition, someone might cheer, “Go for the strikeout! You can do it!”
  • A bowling announcer might say, “And that’s a strikeout for the bowler, putting them in the lead.”

13. Spare Me

This phrase is used to express annoyance or frustration, similar to saying “give me a break” or “spare me the details.” It is not directly related to bowling, but can be used in a bowling context.

  • For instance, if someone complains about a minor issue during a bowling game, another person might respond, “Spare me, it’s just a game.”
  • In a bowling league, a bowler who consistently misses easy spares might receive some teasing, “Spare me, you need to work on your spare game.”
  • A person might exclaim, “Spare me! I can’t believe I missed that easy spare.”

14. Deadwood

Deadwood refers to the pins that remain standing after a bowler rolls the ball. It is used to describe the pins that are still on the lane and need to be knocked down.

  • For example, a bowler might say, “I left a lot of deadwood on that last roll.”
  • In a bowling tournament, a commentator might mention, “He needs to clear the deadwood to have a chance at the spare.”
  • A bowler might ask for advice, “Any tips on how to handle the deadwood?”

15. Brooklyn Side

This term is used when a bowler hits the pins on the opposite side of the pocket. It is considered a lucky or fortunate hit, as it can result in a strike even if the ball was not thrown accurately.

  • For instance, a bowler might say, “I got a strike on the Brooklyn side!”
  • In a friendly competition, someone might joke, “You can’t beat me even if you go Brooklyn!”
  • A bowling coach might advise, “If you’re struggling to hit the pocket consistently, aim for the Brooklyn side and hope for some luck.”

16. Chalk

In bowling, “chalk” refers to the act of marking the score on a chalkboard or scorecard. It is a term used to keep track of each player’s score throughout the game.

  • For example, a bowler might say, “Let me grab the chalk so we can start keeping score.”
  • During a friendly game, someone might ask, “Who’s in charge of the chalk?”
  • A player might comment, “I always forget to bring the chalk with me to the bowling alley.”

17. Sleeper 8 or 9

A “sleeper 8 or 9” refers to a pin that is hidden or partially obscured behind another pin. It is a term used to describe a pin that is difficult to knock down due to its position.

  • For instance, a bowler might say, “I left a sleeper 8 on that last throw.”
  • During a game, someone might ask, “How do I pick up a sleeper 9?”
  • A player might comment, “I hate it when I leave a sleeper pin. It’s so frustrating!”

18. Gutter ball

A “gutter ball” refers to a ball that goes into the gutter instead of hitting any pins. It is a term used to describe a shot that completely misses the target.

  • For example, a bowler might say, “I threw a gutter ball on my first frame.”
  • During a game, someone might exclaim, “Another gutter ball? I need to adjust my aim.”
  • A player might comment, “I always try to avoid throwing a gutter ball, but sometimes it’s inevitable.”

19. Strike

A “strike” refers to knocking down all the pins with a single throw. It is a term used to describe a perfect shot that results in all the pins being knocked down.

  • For instance, a bowler might say, “I just scored a strike on my last frame.”
  • During a game, someone might cheer, “Strike! That’s three in a row!”
  • A player might comment, “Getting a strike is so satisfying. It’s the best feeling in bowling!”

20. Sleeper tap

A “sleeper tap” refers to a pin that is barely touched by the ball but remains standing. It is a term used to describe a pin that is almost knocked down but doesn’t fall.

  • For example, a bowler might say, “I thought I had a strike, but it turned into a sleeper tap.”
  • During a game, someone might ask, “How do I pick up a sleeper tap?”
  • A player might comment, “It’s frustrating when you get a sleeper tap. It’s so close to a strike!”

21. Backup

This term refers to a bowling technique where the ball hooks in the opposite direction of the normal hook. It is often used as a backup plan when the usual hook is not working.

  • For example, a bowler might say, “I couldn’t get my ball to hook, so I switched to a backup shot.”
  • In a bowling competition, a player might use a backup shot to surprise their opponents.
  • A coach might advise, “If your hook shot is inconsistent, try using a backup shot as an alternative.”

22. Dutch 200

This term is used when a bowler scores a perfect game with a score of 200. It refers to getting a strike in every frame of the game.

  • For instance, a bowler might say, “I finally achieved a Dutch 200 last night!”
  • In a bowling league, a player might boast, “I’m aiming for a Dutch 200 this season.”
  • Another bowler might exclaim, “I can’t believe I just bowled a Dutch 200!”

23. Bowling ball

This is the term used to describe the heavy ball used in the game of bowling. It is made of various materials, such as plastic, urethane, or reactive resin, and is designed to roll down the lane and knock down the pins.

  • For example, a bowler might say, “I need to choose the right bowling ball for this lane condition.”
  • A beginner might ask, “How much does a typical bowling ball weigh?”
  • A pro bowler might comment, “I have a collection of custom bowling balls that I use for different oil patterns.”