Curling Glossary

This is the bonus portion of the New Member's Guide, a series of articles to help prepare new club members for their first season.

This is a list of curling terms in the particular order it appeared in the author's mind.

The first person to throw rocks on a team. The lead throws rocks 1 and 2.
The second person to throw rocks on a team. The second throws rocks 3 and 4.
The teammate who assists the skip. The vices from the two teams perform the coin toss before a game starts and work out the score after each end. Generally, the vice holds the broom for the skip when the skip throws their rocks. Usually, the vice is the third person to throw rocks on a team, which means they throw rocks 5 and 6.
The teammate who directs play at the side opposite from the rock thrower. Sometimes they are considered the "captain" of the team. Usually the skip throws the last two rocks, which means they throw rocks 7 and 8.
A curling team, which consists of four players: the skip, third (or vice skip), second and lead. All players are involved in every shot, with one shooting, two sweeping, and one calling strategy. Two rinks play against each other.
Back End
Third and Skip
Front End
Lead and Second
Also known as stones, curling rocks are made of rare, dense, and polished granite quarried only on Ailsa Craig, an island off Scotland's coast. Each rock weighs 42 pounds.
The 146-foot long ice playing area. The sheet's design allows play in both directions.
The foothold from which a thrower kicks off to deliver a rock.
The scoring area, marked by painted circles. The house is 12 feet in diameter.
The center point of the house circles.
The innermost circle in the house. The button is 1 foot in diameter.
In the House
A rock is "in the house" if any part of it is within 6 feet from the pin, or, more practically, if it is touching any part of the house when viewed from above. A rock that is "in the house" can count towards the score.
The instrument used to sweep the ice. This term is also used for the line of the called shot.
The non-slippery shoe. Some shoes have grippers already attached to them, and some use a type that is slipped on and off the shoe.
Shoe on the sliding foot in the delivery of a stone to allow for a long, smooth motion and follow through. Specially-made curling shoes have sliders built in.
The body motion of a curler as the rock is being shot.
A rock delivery attempt.
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. Usually two players are ready to sweep each shot.
The rock being delivered.
A shot where the goal is for the rock thrown to stay in play. Usually the goal is either to draw "to the house" which means the intention is for the rock to stop inside the house (scoring area), or to draw a "guard" which means the intention is for the rock to stop short of the house.
Take out
A shot where the goal is to remove a rock from play.
A take out shot where both the shooter and a stationary rock are removed from play.
Hit and Roll
A take out shot where a stationary rock is removed from play and the shooter moves to another part of the ice.
Hit and Stick
A take out shot where a stationary rock is removed from play and the shooter stays in place after hitting that rock.
To completely miss a takeout.
The shooter glances off another rock just enough to change direction.
The shooter picks up some debris on the ice and changes direction unpredictably.
A draw shot where the shooter ends up right against a rock in play.
The amount of momentum transferred to a rock. This determines how far the rock will travel.
The distance between the target broom and the spot the skip would like the rock to end up.
A command shouted by the skip or shooter to tell the sweepers to sweep. Skips will also say "Sweep," or "Yes" to mean sweep.
Sweeping in front of a rock lightly to remove debris.
Shot Rock
The rock that is currently closest to the button.
A rock just touching the outside edge of the 12-foot circle.
A rock thrown outside the skip’s broom target.
A rock thrown inside the skip’s broom target.
A thrown rock is heavy if it was thrown with more momentum than intended.
Heavy Ice
When the ice is "slow" and more momentum is needed to get the rock to the desired target.
Keen Ice
When the ice is "fast" and less momentum is needed to get the rock to the desired target.
Straight Ice
When the ice conditions do not allow the stones to curl much.
Swingy Ice
When ice conditions cause stones to curl greatly.
Burned Stone
A moving rock that is touched by a player or their equipment, typically the broom.
The path between two rocks.
A shot that bumps a stationary rock closer to the button.
A rock positioned between the hogline and the house.
Free-Guard Zone
This rule states that none of the first four rocks thrown in an end can remove an opponents rock from play if it is in front of the house. This rule was imposed to increase the strategy aspect of the game. The four rock free guard zone rule is used in America, while the Canadians usually play the three rock free guard zone.
The painted horizontal line 15 feet in front of the house. Rocks must be across the far hogline from the thrower to be considered in play, and the thrower has to release the rock before the near hogline.
The line that horizontally splits the house.
Similar to an inning in baseball. One end is complete when all 16 rocks (eight per team) have been thrown to one end of the sheet of ice. A game is usually eight ends, or about two hours. Championship games are 10 ends, or about 2 1/2 hours. After each end, a score is determined by the thirds.
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.
The last rock thrown in an end.
Draw Time(s)
The scheduled game time(s) for a league.
A league game day when a team is scheduled not to play.
Curling tournaments.