Eight Ball

eightball

[eyt-bawl]
noun
1.
Pool.
a.
a black ball bearing the number eight.
b.
a game in which one player or side must pocket all of either the solid-color balls or the striped ones before being permitted to attempt the pocketing of the eightball, which wins.
2.
Slang. an inept person.
Idioms
3.
behind the eightball, Informal. in a difficult, disadvantageous, or uncomfortable situation: He hasn't studied all term, and now he's behind the eightball.

Origin:
1930–35, Americanism; eight + ball1

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
eight ball
 
n
1.  (in pool) the black ball, marked with the number eight
2.  behind the eight ball in a difficult situation; snookered

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

eight ball

popular American pocket-billiards game in which 15 balls numbered consecutively and a white cue ball are used. Those numbered 1-7 are solid colours; 9-15 are white with a single thick stripe in varying colours; and the eight ball is black. To begin, the balls are racked in a pyramid with the eight ball in the centre. One player or a side plays numbers 1-7, while the other plays 9-15; but choice of group is not made until a ball is legally pocketed. Once a side has pocketed all of its group, that side tries to pocket the eight ball and thus win the game. Should a player pocket the eight ball before all of his group is sunk, or misplay the eight ball (as by playing it into a pocket other than the pocket designated before the shot), that player loses.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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