Darts Terms

Darts Terms: A History & Comprehensive Guide to Darts Slang

Alex Moss |

A Comprehensive Glossary of Darts Terms

Darts is a game that requires plenty of skill and players will spend hours and hours trying to perfect their game to be the best. But if you can’t quite walk-the-walk in darts and hit the big scores yet, you can at least talk-the-talk.

Over the years players have developed their own extensive darts slang, using a vocabulary that many involved in the game will understand the meaning of. Knowing all the different darts terms can help a new player come across as more experienced, and maybe feel more confident around the seasoned players.

A Brief History Lesson

The terms used in darts dates as far back as the early 1900s when the game started to grow in popularity in the UK. In 1936, the book Darts by Rupert Croft-Cooke was published and included a darts glossary with more than 50 different terms and phrases used by players.

The various darts slang terms have different origins but have mostly been unearthed in pubs and clubs, highlighting the working-class roots of the game. Some of the terms in darts have been used for the best part of a century, whilst others have been created in recent years during the modern era, such as the ‘Big Fish’, which refers to a 170 checkout – the biggest possible out shot in a traditional game of 501.

Your Darts Terms Glossary

In this article you will find our comprehensive darts terms glossary with many of the phrases that have cropped up and stuck in the game of darts over the years. Each of the dart terms below have their own specific meaning, and this blog will help guide you through all of them. You will soon be able to tell the difference between a ‘Bed And Breakfast’ and a ‘Champagne Breakfast’, and also what it means to hit a ‘Shanghai’ with three darts!

 

Arrows

Darts slang for the actual darts you throw with. Can also be used as a compliment when someone hits a good score. For example, “(good) arrows.”

Baby Ton

A darts term that refers to scoring 95 points in one visit. A ton is a score of exactly 100 points, but a baby ton is still a very good score.

Bag Of Nails

When you throw three single ones with all three of your darts in a single visit.

Bail Out

Refers to a player hitting a big treble with their last dart after two low scoring darts. For example, single one, single five and then treble 20. Also known as a ‘Good Find’ or a ‘Good Save’.

Barrel

The main part of the dart which is where most players will hold when throwing. Made of tungsten, nickel-silver or brass.

Bed

Refers to each specific segment on the dartboard. For example, the treble 20 bed.

Darts 180

Three darts in the treble 20 bed on a dartboard

Bed And Breakfast

When you score 26 points in one visit, usually with a single one, single five and single 20. Named after this because a bed and breakfast used to cost 26p.

Big Fish

A 170 checkout (treble 20, treble 20, bullseye). The biggest finish possible with three darts.

Bogey

When you leave a score that cannot be checked out in three darts or less (Eg. 159, 162, 163, 165, 166, 168 and 169).

Bombs/Bombers

A very large or heavy set of darts.

Bounce Out

The term used to describe a dart falling out of the dartboard.

Break Of Throw

When you win a leg that your opponent threw the first three darts in.

Bullseye

The red centre circle on a dartboard (worth 50 points).

Bull Up

Often used to decide who will throw first in a match. Each player will throw a dart at the bullseye and the player who gets the closest starts the match.

Bull Out

When you win a game by hitting the bullseye.

Bust

Refers to hitting more points than what you required at the start of your turn.

Chalking

The act of keeping score of a game of darts, traditionally by using chalk and a blackboard, or a pen and a whiteboard, but often now with an electronic scoreboard.

Champagne Breakfast

When you hit a treble 20, treble five and treble one in one visit to the board.

Checkout

A checkout is a score you have left that can be finished on a double in one visit to win the game.

Circle It

Refers to a player scoring fewer than 10 points in one turn. The person chalking may put a circle around their score on the scoreboard.

Combination Finish

A checkout that requires a player to hit two or three darts in an exact segment to finish. For example, 60 by hitting single 20 and then double 20.

Double In

When you start a game of darts by hitting one of the double segments.

Double Out

Refers to hitting one of the double segments to win a game of darts.

Downstairs

The lower portion of the dartboard. Often refers to players throwing for the 19 segment after starting on the 20 segment.

Fat (number)

Refers to hitting the larger single segment of a number. For example, fat 20.

Game On

A term said by the referee at the start of a game to indicate play is about to begin.

Game Shot

Another call by a referee to indicate the game has finished.

Good grouping

A term used to highlight three darts being very close together in the dartboard.

Hat-Trick

When you hit the bullseye with all three darts in one turn.

Hold Of Throw

The term used when a player wins a leg that they threw the first three darts in.

Leg

Refers to a single game of 501 played within a match of darts.

Lipstick

Another term for the treble 20 segment.

Madhouse

When you finish a game on double one.

Mugs Away

Refers to the loser of a game then throwing first in the next game.

Nine Darter

A perfect leg of darts in 501 using nine darts to get from 501 to zero. Usually achieved by hitting two 180s followed by a 141 checkout.

Oche

The line players should stand behind each time when they throw their darts.

Robin Hood

A rare occurrence when the point of one dart lands inside another dart which is already in the board.

Set

Some matches are played in a set format, so the first player to win three legs wins a set. The World Championship uses the set format.

Shanghai

Refers to a player hitting the treble, double and single of the same number segment in one turn. The 120 (treble 20, single 20 and double 20) is known as the ‘Shanghai’ checkout.

Spider Web

Another name that refers to the wiring of the dartboard.

Ton

A score of 100 points.

Ton Eighty

A shorter name for when you score 180 points (three treble 20s) in one visit.

Tops

Refers to the double 20.

Upstairs

The upper portion of a dartboard.

Visit

Another phrase for each turn (when you throw three darts).

 

A Language of Working Class Culture

Darts slang originates from a myriad of sources and is a language that more or less reflects the working-class roots of the game in Britain. Many of the words listed in our darts terms glossary date as far back as the 1930s and are still used today.

Why not try using some of these phrases the next time you are playing a game of darts with someone else? And if there is a darts term that you often hear that is not listed in this blog then please get in touch with us so we can include it!

Pictures: PDC

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