Darts has been around as a sport for quite some time. In fact, it is one of the older sports which is why its history is rich. And with rich history and great amounts of popularity comes a high number of terms that are developed alongside the game. And while they usually vary a bit from country to country, there still is certain darts slang that is universal, and knowing it will allow you to understand the game and its players better!
In this article, I will walk you through some of the most famous phrases and terms in darts. Further down we will take an even more in-depth look at them in the massive A-Z glossary I’ve compiled for you.
Before we check out some of the most commonly used terms in darts, make sure you see my guide on the best dartboards for this year. You will find my favorite models there as well as tons of useful information on how to find yourself a proper dartboard!
The Most Common Darts Terms
There are around 15 common terms that are used constantly during a game of darts. Knowing these will set the foundations for your next steps into the professional world. These terms are:
- Bullseye (or Bull) – The so-called “Bull” is the part of the dartboard that sits in the middle. It is further divided into two sections – the outer and inner bull. Typically, when the dartboard complies with regulations, the inner color will be red while the outer bull will be green. Points-wise, hitting a bullseye brings you 50 points while the outer Bull “only” brings you 25.
- Double – Double is called the outer ring of the dartboard. It brings you any amount of points written on it times two. It is also used to check-out certain games.
- Triple – Just like Doubles, the Triple is called the inner ring of the dartboard. Each zone there will give you the number times three. The most common triple that players try to hit is the triple 20s.
- Cork – This is yet another term for hitting the bullseye and is getting more and more common these days. In fact, it can also be used as a verb. For example, you can see who “corks” when picking who goes first in the game.
- Bounce-outs – A bounce-out is called when you hit the spider (metal lines) of the dartboard and your darts just fly off the board hitting the ground. These are much more common than you’d think, even in the professional world. To avoid bounce-outs, dartboard manufacturers try to produce thinner spiders and better darts but it still also relies on your overall accuracy.
- Cover Shot – Cover shots are a way to get a similar score if your zone of interest is blocked. One of the most common cover shots is when the 20 zones are blocked and you aim for 19 (triple 20 becomes triple 19).
- Check-out – In every darts game you need a certain amount of points to win the game with the number going back all the way down to 0. In order to win a game where you have 19 points left, you have to hit exactly 19. That would be referred to as a checkout.
- Bust – Conversely to what a check-out is, a Bust is called when you have to exit with 19 points but hit 20. You are still below zero but you cannot win the game.
- Maximum – As its name suggests, this term refers to the maximum points you can score in darts. That would be 180 points or hitting the triple 20 three times (3 x 60).
- Average – Average is the average score you made across your three darts throws. It can also refer to the average score from your game, set, and leg.
- Leg – A Leg refers to a single game of darts whatever the type of game is.
- Match – The match is considered a series of complete games. Different matches have different numbers of legs in them.
- Spider – This is the metal part of the dartboard that separates the number zones. It is a thin lining going around the whole board.
- Oche – Oche is one of the old words for the darts throw line. There are different types of dart throw lines including dart mats with printed lines, stickers, and laser lines.
- Barrel – This is the part of your darts that you hold. Barrels are usually the heaviest part of the dart and are made out of metal. They have grooves in order to help with grip and stability during throws.
If you’re also interested in all the rules around the game of darts, click here! Now, let’s take a look at the full glossary of all the terms listed in an a-to-z manner…
Full A-Z Glossary
- Aces – Aces is sometimes referred to as hitting a Double 1 in a game of X01.
- Arrows – “Arrows” is what some people use for the game of darts. However, it isn’t as common in the USA as it is in the UK.
- Archer – An archer in darts is a person that throws smooth darts.
- Baby ton – You will see the word “ton” used a lot in various phrases and combinations. The baby ton, in particular, is a score of 95.
- Baby fish – You do a baby fish by doing a 130 checkout by hitting triple 20s, single 20, and a bullseye!
- Bag (Bucket) of nails – A bucket of nails refers to all of your three shots hitting 1s.
- Bag of nuts – It can be sometimes written as “Bag O’ Nuts” which refers to scoring 45 points in a single round. The name comes from the prize that some fairgrounds used to give customers.
- Basement – We call the basement the bottom part of the dartboard. Hitting a double 3 can also be referred to as a basement.
- Baz – A Baz is a darts player that has random good shots that surprise everyone.
- Bed – We call a “bed” a place where multiple darts land on the board. For instance, if you hit 3 times the same scoring zone, the darts are in a bed for a certain amount of score.
- Big Fish – The big fish is a 170 checkout score which is the max you can get for a finish.
- Black Eye (Hat) -This happens extremely rare but it is when a player hits a double bullseye with all of his darts within the same round.
- Break – You break your opponent’s throw when you win the leg of the game when throwing second.
- Bulls out – When you go for the inner bull in order to win the game.
- Bull calf – A score of 33.
- Bunting – An old way of playing the game while kneeling.
- Business trip – In a game of Cricket, scoring a Business trip means hitting three singles in a row.
- Carolina Leaner – Refers to a player that leans very far over the throw line.
- Chalking – The person who scores the game you’re playing.
- Champagne breakfast – Hitting trip 20s, trip 5s, and trip 1s.
- Chips – Similar to the champagne breakfast but only hitting ones 20, 5, and 1 for a total of 26.
- Chucker – This is a person who just throws the darts without any aim whatsoever.
- Classic – A classic is the same as chips done within the same round.
- Clock – We call the dartboard a “clock”, especially in the game around the clock.
- Cracked – When you aim for a double and accidentally hit a single.
- Cricket darts – A popular game of darts that is played primarily in Asia but also in North America.
- Dartitis – This is a psychological condition that affects darts players due to high-pressure situations. It manifests with physical symptoms such as muscle spasms, inability to focus, and the inability to throw your darts at the right moment. It can be career-ending for some professional players.
- Deadeye – In electronic dartboards, the dead eye is the hole in the bull.
- Devil – Hitting trip 6s.
- Diddle for the middle – This is a way to determine who goes first. The one that hits the closest to the bullseye gets to go first.
- Double out – When you hit a double area in order to win an X01 game.
- Double top – Double 20s.
- Double trouble – Whenever you need a double to exit the game but you cannot hit it.
- Downstairs – Same as the basement. It represents the bottom part of the dartboard.
- Easy in – This is the default mode for most X01 games. You start straight away without having to hit a double area.
- Easy out – The continuation of an easy in. You don’t have to hit a double to exit the game.
- Fallout – Fallout or Fluke Shot is when you hit a similarily high number when aiming for something else. For instance, you aim for the trip 20s but hit trip 18s.
- Fat – The fat area is the largest portion of any number. You can find it between the doubles and triples.
- Feathers – Feathers is another name for the flights on the darts. Long ago, these flights weren’t plastic but were made out of feathers which is where the name comes from.
- Flatline – Missing all three of your shots in cricket.
- Flight – The modern more aerodynamic version of feathers.
- Game on – When the referee tells you all to start the game.
- Game shot – This is referring to the winning shot in a game.
- Grouping – Grouping is the approximate area where your darts hit. A tight grouping means you are more experienced while a loose grouping usually indicates a beginner.
- Hail Mary – Scoring a high score after missing your previous two or hitting very low scores with them.
- Hat trick – Hitting three bulls within the same round.
- High ton – A score of 150 or more.
- Hot toddy – A drunk player that plays exceptionally well despite his/her condition. A very common sight in most pubs and game rooms.
- Jugging – To check out when your player has a score of 200 or more. The defeated player has to drink a jug of beer, hence the name.
- Island – The area of the dartboard where you can score.
- Irish ton – This refers to hitting 1, 1, and then trip 1s. Had this been higher in the upper region of the island, you’d be getting a 100 for the same grouping.
- Iron man – This is a player who finishes strong usually with consecutive doubles.
- Leg shot – Hitting your checkout score in order to win the current leg.
- Lipstick – Trip 20s.
- Low ton – Scoring between 100 and 150 points.
- Madhouse – Madhouse is when you go for the double 1s in a game of X01. Missing this usually means 0 points, hence the name madhouse.
- Marker – The first dart that you throw in order to determine the form of your next throw and adjust your throw and/or stance. It serves to improve your accuracy if you’re going for a specific zone.
- Masonry darts – Being worse than carpentry darts, as the name suggests, a masonry dart is one that hits the wall next to the dartboard.
- Match dart – The finishing throw of a game.
- Maverick – AN unconventional player that doesn’t follow the norm. He will hit trip 12s, and double 12s in order to clean a score of 60.
- Maximum checkout – The maximum score with which you can checkout. It is trip 20s, trip 20s again, and a bull resulting in a score of 170.
- Mugs away – This means that whoever loses the game will start the next one.
- Nail – A score of 1.
- Nish – Whenever you checkout with two scores of the same number value. For instance, hitting 20 and then double 20s.
- Perfect game – Whenever you hit all 9 of your darts.
- Popcorn – Whenever you hit so close to your other darts that they fall from the dartboard.
- PPD – A statistic measuring the average points per dart of his throws.
- Rail – The same as the spider or just “wiring”.
- Redeemer – A dart that makes up for the previous two (poor) dart throws.
- Robin hood – One of the most epic moments in darts, as well as in archery from where the name comes from. This is referred to as when your darts hits the back of your previous darts. It is scored in the same zone as the first one.
- Round – The part of the game within which you throw three of your darts in a row.
- Round the clock – A very fun game to play with your friends where you have to hit all the numbers in ascending and then descending order in order to win.
- Scud – When you miss your target but hit an equally good number.
- Scotch – An alternative name for the game of darts.
- Scroat – Aiming for the trips but hitting doubles of the same number.
- Seeding – This has to do with how much of a change a player has to win a certain tournament. The #1 seed in a tournament is the favorite to win.
- Shanghai – Hitting the single, doubles, and trips in the same number. A little shanghai is hitting the single, doubles, and trips of different numbers. A big shanghai is hitting single, double, and trip 20s. A short shanghai is hitting two bulls with two darts.
- Shotgun blast – Throwing all three of your darts at once. Obviously, this move isn’t allowed and is meant for showmanship only.
- Shut-out – This is called when you lose the game without being able to score a single point.
- Slop – A lucky hit.
- Small – The area between the bull and the trip is called the Small (or Smalls).
- Spray and pray – Shooting your darts without looking or aiming. It is usually done by beginners.
- Splitting the 11 – Hitting the area between the two numbers of the number 11.
- Steady – Also known as a steady ton, a steady is when a player consistently hits 60s. While that might not seem impressive, they have a good win percentage due to their consistency. Typically, very good players are referred to as steady players as they play safe and win most of the time.
- Sticks – Just like arrows and scotch, sticks is another name for darts.
- Straight nine – Trip 18s, Trip 19s, and Trip 20s in a consecutive fashion.
- Three in a bed – All of your darts hitting the exact same scoring zone.
- Throw line – The throw line is a line that marks the distance from your toes to the wall. It is measured differently depending on whether you’re playing with soft or steel-tipped darts. Some
- Toe line – Another name for the oche or the throw line.
- Ton – 100 points (within a single round).
- Ton 80 – Another name for a score of 180.
- Ton plus – A score of more than or equal to 101.
- Tops – A checkout with double 20s.
- Tough darts – A phrase used to refer to bad luck or a good effort of almost hitting your target.
- Tungsten – A common material used in the barrels of the darts. It is very dense and durable but also lightweight.
- Upstairs – The opposite of downstairs or basement. In other words, the upper part of the dartboard.
- Wet feet (paddling) – A player has wet feet whenever he steps over the throw line or, in general, too close to the dartboard.
- White horse – Scoring three trips on three different zones/numbers.
- Wiring – The metal wires around the dartboard. Also called “a spider”.
Apart from knowing all the lingo, you will also need to train hard to become a professional. Still, how to actually become a professional darts player? Check out my detailed guide here!
Frequently Asked Questions
What are 3 triple 20s called in darts?
Hitting 3 triple 20s in darts is called Ton 80, while simply “Ton” is hitting a score of 100 or more within the same round.
How do you call 3 double bullseyes in darts?
When you hit 3 double bullseyes in a single round that is called doing a black eye or a black hat. The double bull is called a black dog.
Why is 26 called “bed and breakfast” in darts?
The “26” is a British term used to call this score. You have to hit 26 in an 01 game with a single 20 and all the adjacent numbers following (1 and 5). The name comes from the fact that breakfast used to cost 26 pence back in the days, and I mean way back. This is also called half-a-crown or a Murphy.
Knowing the different dart slang for each part of the game is going to be an essential part of your training. Even if you only want to play darts for fun with your friends, knowing the lingo is going to make things so much more interesting. For that reason, you should try learning the main terms which are most widely used and form the foundation of the dart’s lingo. As you get used to them, you will start encountering more and more terms and phrases that will make you sound like a darts pro!