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 formsbil·liard·ist, noun




of or used in billiards.


Origin of billiard

1630–40; < French billard cue, equivalent to bille stick (see billet2) + -ard -ard Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for billiards

Contemporary Examples of billiards

Historical Examples of billiards

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

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

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

  • They told me up at Delhi that you hadn't your equal at whist or billiards.

  • I found there the burgomaster's son, who was just beginning a game of billiards.

    The Memoires of Casanova, Complete

    Jacques Casanova de Seingalt

  • In proportion as he excels in billiards he will be lacking in business, and vice versa.

    Dollars and Sense

    Col. Wm. C. Hunter

British Dictionary definitions for billiards


noun (functioning as singular)

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 twoCompare pool 2 (def. 5), snooker

Word Origin for billiards

C16: from Old French billard curved stick, from Old French bille log; see billet ²



(modifier) of or relating to billiardsa 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

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