Marble Game Terms




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By Dan Beard

Before going any farther, I might as well give the meanings of the principal terms used in marbles-the phrases which mean so much to boys and so little to those who are unfamiliar with them.

bulletThe Taw or Shooter, is the marble used for shooting.
bulletThe Taw Line or Tie Line, or Scratch, as it is often called, is the line drawn for a starting-point in games like the Long Ring.
bulletDucks are the marbles to be shot at.
bulletDubs (an abbreviation of doubles) means that you take all the marbles knocked out of the ring by one shot.
bulletFen Dubs (an abbreviation of defend doubles) means that you must put back all but one marble.
bulletLofting means shooting through the air. When you loft you knuckle down and your taw goes through the air and does not strike the ground until it hits the duck aimed at, or a spot near it.
bulletKnuckling down means what the name implies, resting the knuckles on the ground during the act of shooting.
bulletHunching means shoving your hand over the mark as you shoot. Hunching is unfair, and if a good shot is made and the player making it is caught in the act of hunching he should be made to shoot over again and shoot fair.
bulletHisting is holding the hand some distance above the ground. Histing is not allowable in the Bull Ring or in Meg-on-a-String.
bulletRoundsters means taking a new position on one side or the other of some obstruction. This is not fair in Bull Ring.
bulletSidings means to move your taw from one side to the other in a straight line when about to shoot, and is not allowable in Bull Ring.
bulletBurying is the term applied to the act of placing your taw in a good spot and then forcing it into the ground with the heel of your shoe. Burying is sometimes allowed in all games of marbles, but only by unskilled players; with the others "Fen buryings" is the unwritten rule of the game.
bulletLaying in is similar to burying, with the exception that your taw is left on top of the ground. This is also a "baby" game and not often resorted to. "Laying in" also means placing the marbles in the ring.
bulletClearances means removing stones, sticks, or other objects between your taw and the ducks.
bulletSneaking is the act of shooting for a position.
bulletBabying is shooting with little force, so as not to knock the ducks far or to cause your taw to fly far. Babying is not of much use in large rings, but is often resorted to in small rings and in such games as Follerings. There is no rule that can make you stop babying, so the other players always try ridicule. This never succeeds to any extent, though it eases the minds of the unsuccessful players when another boy is "skinning" the ring by babying.
bulletPlaying for Keeps is a game in which all the ducks won are kept. Playing for Fair is an Eastern term with the same meaning, and for Fun means of course that all the marble are returned to their original owners when the game is over.







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How To Shoot Marbles ] [ Marble Game Terms ] Names of Marbles ] Making Marbles ] Knuckle Dabsters ] The Right Spirit ] Gambling with Marbles ]

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Last modified: October 15, 2016.