Word of the Day


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a game played on a large table covered with green cloth. Players try to hit coloured balls into holes called pockets with a long stick called a cue.

Origin and usage

According to legend, the game of snooker was invented by British soldiers in India in the 1870s and may have been named in reference to a common slang term for new cadets. The first recorded use of the word is from 1889, when it was mentioned in a book written about billiards, the game from which snooker is derived.


Snooker refers to a game very similar to billiards that is played with coloured balls and long cue sticks on a felt-covered table with pockets at each of the four corners, as well as two in the middle on either side.

In a game of snooker, players must use the white cue ball to strike the 22 coloured balls so that they land in the corner pockets in a specific sequence. An individual game, called a frame, is won by the player who collects the most points. A match is won by the player who wins the greatest number of frames.

Snooker was invented by British soldiers in India in the 19th century and grew in popularity across England for several decades. Eventually, the Billiards Association and Control Club was formed in 1919 to help regulate the game. The first World Snooker Championship took place in 1927.

Today, snooker is an international game governed by the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA). This organisation maintains control of the professional game, where the best players travel the world and earn millions of pounds by winning international tournaments.


“The most important thing, the biggest love of my life, is my snooker. I’ve never been so emotionally ingrained in something – in a person, an object, anything – as I have in snooker.”
(Ronnie O’Sullivan)

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

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