New Hampshire Candlepin Bowling Association        


Candlepin Language


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Candlepin Language

To play the game you need to know the language. The following are some of the terms used in Candlepin Bowling.
The pins are numbered as shown and set 12 inches apart center to center.


7   8   9   10
  4   5   6  
    2   3    


Action - Pins flying and mixing ending with a good make able leave.

Anchor - The last bowler in the line up of a team.

Approach - That part of the lane on which the bowler moves up to the foul line with his delivery.

Barn Door - Any favorable WOOD directly in front of the key pin(s).

Block - A WOOD lying unfavorably in front of the key pin(s), (ROAD BLOCK).

Box - A turn in Candlepin bowling in which up to three balls are rolled. Showing a strike, spare or accumulated total.

By The Back Door - When front pin or pins fall last.

Choke - To become over-anxious and miss badly.

Cross Alley Ball - A ball starting at the edge of a lane and aimed at the head pin.

Deadwood -  A pin that has crossed the deadwood line or gone into the gutter which are unplayable.

Fill - Bonus score on a strike or a spare.

Four Bagger - Four strikes in a row.

Foul - Stepping on or over the foul line, touching the lane with any part of the body, lobbing the ball.

Frame - A turn in Candlepin bowling in which up to three balls are rolled. Showing a strike, spare or accumulated total.

Game - One string consisting of 10 frames.

Gutter Ball - When the ball goes into the channel or gutter.

Handicap - To adjust the score between players or teams for an obvious superiority, (opponents with higher averages).
Pins are given to the lower average player or team.

Head Pin - The front pin (#1).

High Single - The top individual game of a league.

High Triple - The top three consecutive game score of and individual in a league.

Hot - When a bowler is in a streak. Bowling well.

Kickback - The division boards between LANES at the pin end.

King Pin - The #5 pin, located in the center of the group of ten.

Lead Off - The first bowler in the line-up pf a team.

Leaves - Pins left standing.

Lob - To toss the ball over the lob line which is 10 feet beyond the foul line.

Lob Line - Located 10 feet from the foot foul line beyond which you cannot legally throw a ball.

Luck - What the other bowler always has but you, never.

Mark - A strike (10 pins down on the first ball), or a spare (10 pins down with two balls).

Object Pin - The pin that must be hit to make a shot.

Pindeck - The area upon which the pins are set.

Pinning - Getting single pins and pairs after the first ball.

Pit - The area of the machine which the pins fall into after each frame.

Pocket - The space between (and including) the head three pins; (left pocket: 1 and 2 pin); (right pocket 1 and 3 pin).
First ball target. For right-hand bowlers the 1-3; and left-hand bowlers the 1-2.

Points - What a team receives for winning a game.

Reset - To start the pinsetter for a full rack of pins.

Scratch - Using actual score without the benefit of a handicap system.

Season - The number of matches scheduled in a league.

Sidewall - The division boards between LANES at the pin end.

Standings - The relation of individual teams figured from week to week based on the number of games won.

Sweep - The device on the pin-setter which clears the pindeck.

Wood - Pins which have fallen but are in the play area.


Diamond - 3-5-6-9 or similar.

-   -   o   -
  -   o   o  
    -   o    

Four Horsemen - 1-2-4-7 or 1-3-6-10

o   -   -   -
  o   -   -  
    o   -    

Half Worcester - Knocking down the 2-8 or 3-9.

o   -   o   o
  o   o   o  
    -   o    

Full Worcester - All pins standing except the 2-8 and 3-9.

o   -   -   o
  o   o   o  
    -   -    

Hi - Lo - Jack - 1-7-10 pins

o   -   -   o
  -   -   -  
    -   -    

Spread Eagle - 2-3-4-6-7-10 pins.

o   -   -   o
  o   -   o  
    o   o    

Goalposts - The 7 and 10 pins.

o   -   -   o
  -   -   -  
    -   -    


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Last modified: 08/28/19