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[bil-yerdz] /ˈbɪl yərdz/
noun, (used with a singular verb)
any of several games played with hard balls of ivory or of a similar material that are driven with a cue on a cloth-covered table enclosed by a raised rim of rubber, especially a game played with a cue ball and two object balls on a table without pockets.
Compare pool2 (def 8).
Origin of billiards
First recorded in 1585-95; plural of billiard
Related forms
billiardist, noun


[bil-yerd] /ˈbɪl yərd/
of or used in billiards.
carom (def 1).
1630-40; < French billard cue, equivalent to bille stick (see billet2) + -ard -ard Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for billiards
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Old Terry, having got them together, went back to his billiards and left them.

    Dangerous Days Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • Dice and billiards are also in vogue—billiards to a considerable extent.

    The Quadroon Mayne Reid
  • There never was a game of billiards that would end precisely at the moment you should leave for duty.

    The Golden Censer John McGovern
  • At billiards he can give the average sharper forty in a hundred.

  • Also, I have taken rather too much to billiards and that sort of thing.

    Bleak House Charles Dickens
  • Most exquisite of sonatas would not to them make up for a game of billiards!

    Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald
  • They could give me points and beat me, as we say in billiards.

  • It cost her six francs, for he had lost at billiards, and the drinks they had played for were owing.

British Dictionary definitions for billiards


noun (functioning as sing)
any of various games in which long cues are used to drive balls now made of composition or plastic. It is played on a rectangular table covered with a smooth tight-fitting cloth and having raised cushioned edges
a version of this, played on a rectangular table having six pockets let into the corners and the two longer sides. Points are scored by striking one of three balls with the cue to contact the other two or one of the two Compare pool2 (sense 5), snooker
Word Origin
C16: from Old French billard curved stick, from Old French bille log; see billet²


(modifier) of or relating to billiards: a billiard table, a billiard cue, a billiard ball
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for billiards

1590s, from French billiard, originally the word for the wooden cue stick, a diminutive from Old French bille "stick of wood," from Medieval Latin billia "tree, trunk," possibly from Gaulish (cf. Irish bile "tree trunk").


singular of billiards, used only in combinations.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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