Glossary of Basketball Terms

posted by Logan Anderson December 24, 2015 8 Comments

I will keep an up to date glossary of all the terms used.  I also want to encourage others to include their suggestions on different ways to vary vocabulary and I will include those suggestions in the glossary as well.

Basketball Glossary

Setting up an inbound pass:  Jones to trigger it in; Jones the catalyst from the sideline; Jones to set things in motion; Jones surveys the floor from the sideline; Jones to initiate the play; Jones sizing up the defense;  (6)

Starting the offense: Engineering the offense; At the controls; Sets the table; Looking over the chess board; Hits the start button; At the helm; Directing traffic; (7)

Releasing a jump shot:  Flings it up; Chucks it; Fires; Launches; Shoots; Heaves; Lets it fly; Puts up; Pulls the trigger; Floats it up; Shot puts; Line drive; Catch and release; The rainbow; Throws it up; Cuts it loose; Hoists; Rises up; Flutters; Dispatches; Pops; Uncorks; Eyes a jumper; Squares to shoot; Lifts a jumper; Offers it up;  Measures up; Squeezes off; Jacks up;  (29)

Describing a made jumper:  Drills it; Buries it; It’s currency; Deposits the jumper; Goes through; Sticks it; Buckets; Cash; Cashes in; Silk; Nails it; Pure; Clean; Get wet; Splash; Mesh; Cha ching; Money; Nothing but nylon; Tickles the twine; Massages the mesh; Ripples the rope; Finds the mark; Bullseye; Strings; True; Tally up 2; Rattles it in; Shakes it in; Vibrates through the cylinder; Shivers in; Drips through; Soaks; Down the hatch; Bingo; Jackpot; Sinks it; KaBoom; Butter; Rips the chord; Visine; Down the chute; Puts paint in the bucket; Drizzles through; Sprinkles through; Bottom; Velvet; Leather through lace; Toilet bowls; Whirlpools; Swirls; Maelstroms; Bags it; Greases the cylinder; Down the well; Down the rabbit hole; Curls in; Dead Center; Deadeye; Got it; Through the heart; Straight as a string; Creeps over the rim; (63)

Describing a short jump shot in the lane: Floater; Runner; Tear Drop; Leaner;  (4)

Describing a layup: Lay in; Finger roll; Scoop shot; From point blank range; Bunny; Tip in; Taps it in; Gimme; Tear drop; Flip shot; Runs it up; Shovels it up; Muscles it up; (13)

Describing a three point jumper: Triple; Trifecta; Trey bomb; All three of em’; From downtown; From deep; Tres; From distance; From the parking lot; From another area code; Beyond the arc; Thrice; From range; Dials one up from deep; (14)

Describing a jumper that goes half way down and pops out:  Pops out like a jack in the box; Gophers out; Pops out like a whack a mole machine; Sucked out by a vacuum; Regurgitated; Blasted out like old faithful; Pulled up by a magnet; Reverse toilet bowls; Snatches a miss from the jaws of a make; Ejected; Bottle rockets; Spit out; Pop goes the weasel;  (13)

Describing missed jumper off the back of the rim: Off back iron; Off the heel; Off the attachment; Off the bracket; Off the posterior; Off the rump; Kicks off the cast iron; Clangs; Clanks; Catapults off; Off the cup handle; Springs off hind iron; Rockets off the back; Vaults off the back; Pounces off; Launches; Spills out of the cup; Pegs off the back; Pogo’s; (19)

Describing a missed jumper off the side of the rim: Falls off; Trickles; Cascades ; Plunges, Bounces ; Recoils; Ricochets; Vaults; Bucks; Skims; Skitters; Curls off; Deadens off the rims; Flows off; Drifts off; Flutters off; Sprays off; Cast is off; Scratches the rim; Scrapes the iron; Scuffs the tin; Buffs the cylinder; Crawls; Creeps; Drips; Slips; Slides; Off by an eyelash; Sputters off; (29)

Describing a bank shot: Off the glass; Uses the square; Off the clear; Uses the fiberglass; Window shopping; Off the window; Bankboard; Back board; Off the box; Deposits the bank; Earning interest as he banks it in; Catches glass; With the kiss; (13)

Describing A Dunk: Jams; Stuffs; Hammers; Slams; Crushes it; Tries to rip down the rim; Crams; Flushes; Yacks it; Throws Down; Rocks the rim; (11)

Describing a basket cut: Flash; Curl; Angles; Backdoor; V Cut; J Cut; Darts open;  (7)

Describe a rebound: Clears the board; Snares the loose ball; Clears the carom; Wipes the glass; Tracks down the miss; Chases down the rebound; Corrals the miss; Reels in the rebound; Rips the board; Yanks down the rebound; Wrestles the board away; Plucks the miss; Collects the board; Secures the miss; Bags the board; Seizes the missed shot;  Retrieves the ball; Cleans up; Clamps down on the rebound; (19)

Describe a pass: Finds; Delivers the ball; Chest pass; Bounce Pass; Overhead Pass; Zips; Shovels; Scoops; Lasers; Rifles; Lobs; Arcs; Lofts; Slips; Threads; Feeds; Dishes; Sends; Delivers; Skips; Bounces; Kicks; Whistles; Whips; Swings; Whisks; Wings; Fires; Bullet pass; Works over to; On the hop; (31)

Describing a ball reversal: Around the horn; Navigates the Arc; Turns around the Wheel; Follows the curve; Orbits the arch; Revolves around the outside; Circles the hump; Relays around the radius; Circuits along the circle; Cycles around; Works it around; Traces the arc; (12)

Dribbles: Handles; Pounds the pebbled leather; Yo-yo’s in place; Bounces; Pulsing off the wood; Metronome dribble; Raps the roundball; Pats the pill; Slaps the sphere; Operates with the orb; (11)

Steals the ball: Dislodge; Rips; Swipes; Slaps away; Pokes; Digs it out; Pilfers; Strips; Picks his pocket; The theft; With the robbery; Takes his cookies; (12)

Blocks a shot: Swats; Rejects; Makes him eat leather; Denied; Deflects; Slaps away; Stuffs; Volleyball spiked; (8)

Describing a post up: Gets the seal; Buries a defender low; Digs in; (3)

Describing a Drive: Slices; Dices; Slithers; Wiggles; Snakes; Attacks; Penetrates; Tap-dances; Barrels; Bowling Balls; Zig Zags; Navigates; Torpedos; Dances; Careens; Waterbugs; Picks through traffic; Bulldozes; Forces; Bullies; Weaves; Steers; Charges; Rack attack; Surges; Knifes; Maneuvers;  (27)

Pushes the ball quickly down the floor:  Races; Sprints; Dashes; Hustles; Scoots; Scurries; Beelines; Zips; Darts; Blazes; (10)

Brings the ball slowly up the floor: Saunters; Jogs; Trots; Mosey; Strolls; Lumbers; (6)

Slows Down: Taps the breaks; decelerates; Skids to a halt; Pulls the reigns; Pulls the parachute; Changes gears; Shifts down; (7)

The middle area near the baseline:  Short corner; Midrange near the baseline; Corner; (3)

Sideline:  Right/ left sideline; Near/far sideline; Boundary; Border line; (4)

Corner: Deep corner; High Corner; Coffin Corner; Corner Pocket;  (4)

Lane: Alley; Paint; Runway; Main Street; Interior;  (6)

Elbow: High post; Right/left stripe; foul line right/left; high post office; arm joint (6)

Center of Free Throw Line: The Nail; The stripe; 15 feet straight away; (3)

Top of the arc: Top of the key; Head of the key; Straight Away; Straight on; Front and center; The Point; The circle; Straightaway; Head on; (9)

Describing the rim: Hoop; Cylinder; Hole;  Tin; Cup; Iron; Basket; Bucket; Metal; Ring; Circumference; Rack; The Steel; (13)

Faces a defender: Squares up; Faces up; Sizes up; (4)

Half Court Line: Dividing line; Time line; Midcourt stripe; (4)

Between half court and the three point arc: Between the circles; Near the volleyball spike line; Between the rings; Out in no man’s land; Between the arcs; Way behind the three point line;  (6)

Ways to say a team needs a stop:  Put the clamps on; Turn the light to red; Put the brakes on; Bear down on; Wall up against; Lock down; Needs to hold firm; Bar the door on a comeback; Tighten the screws on; Get the ball back with no further damage; Keep the scorekeeper bored; Drop an anchor on the offense; Put a straightjacket on; Pull the reins on; Put a muzzle on (15)

Ways to describe someone playing defense: Shadows; Follows; Gets into; D’s up on; Mirrors; Chases; Tracks; Hounds; Harass; Shades; Smothers; Pesters; Under the guard; On guard duty; Buttons up; Keeps an eye on; Watches; Deters; Hassles; Draped; Like white on rice; (21)

Forced in a direction: Funneled; Directed; Ushered;  (3)

Clock: Timer; Ticker; Timepiece; (3)

Tie Game: Knotted up; Even on the board; Dead heat; Playing to a draw; Wash; All square; Carbon Copy;  (7)

Traveling: Walks; Steps; Picks up his pivot; Packs his bags; Uses frequent flyer miles; Official makes him show his passport; (6)

Foul: Hack; Contact; Hammers; Clobbers; Violation; Harm; Reaches in; Harmed; Roughed up; Undresses; (10)



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Ben Simon December 3, 2016 at 4:52 pm

Love it! First basketball game for me on Friday!

Logan Anderson December 8, 2016 at 4:24 am

Good luck Ben!

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Daniel Blankenship April 18, 2019 at 5:36 pm

Gearing up to call my first ever game this summer for the WMLBA’s Oklahoma Tatanka. Thank you for this.

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Good luck Daniel!


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