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Curling glossary: key terms explained

Back line

The line right behind the house. If a rock completely crosses the back line, it is removed from play. 

Button or dolly

The small circle at the centre of the house.

Centre line

A line running lengthwise down the centre of the ice (from hack to hack.)

Cherry Rocker

Junior between the age of 8 and 12. They play with special children’s stones.

Double take out

A stone that removes two of the opponent’s stones from play.

Draw

A stone which stops inside or in front of the house.

Give ice

To hold a brush for a player to aim at. 

End

A portion of a curling game that is completed when each team has thrown eight stones in the same direction. A game generally runs for ten ends.

Freeze

A stone that stops directly up against another stone.

Guard

A stone that is placed in a position so that it may protect another stone, typically placed between the hog line and the very front of the house.

Hack

The foothold at each end of the ice which is used by a player to start the delivery of a curling stone. 

Handle

The part of a curling stone that a player grips in order to deliver.

House

The concentric circles which rocks have to reach for points to be scored. There are normally four concentric circles with diameters of twelve feet, eight feet, four feet and one foot.

Hog line

The line by which the stone must be clearly and fully released by the thrower. Only stones that completely cross the hog line are
considered in play.

Lead

The player who throws the first two rocks for a team. 

Pebble

Small droplets of water sprayed on the ice with a kind of watering can that freeze, causing irregularities on the surface and allowing the rocks to curl.

Rink

The building where curling is played, or in some cases the area of ice on which a game is played. 

Second

The player who throws the third and fourth rocks for a team.

Skip

The head of the team, who calls the shots and traditionally throws the last two rocks (the most important ones) for their team. 

Shot

The rock in the house closest to the button, or a played stone.

Tee line

The line that goes across the house intersecting with the middle of the button, splitting it into two halves. Behind this line, players in the non-playing team can also sweep an opponent’s rock.

Takeout

A rock that is thrown quickly and hits another rock (belonging to either the player’s own team or the opponent) and removes it from play.

Third

The player who throws the fifth and sixth rocks for a team. Serves as the vice-skip and holds the broom when the skip throws his or her rocks.