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Definition: When a cue ball is struck on either side of its vertical axis, giving it “side spin”. English may also occur when a ball collides with another or with a rail. The term comes from the British players who first became famous with sidespin techniques.

Topspin or draw spin (when the cue ball is struck high or low of center upon its vertical axis) also affects a ball, though many players mistakenly call these spins “english”. English is hitting the ball to promote sidespin.

Both expressions may be combined to explain the point of the cue ball aimed at for a shot. A player asked “What sort of english did you use?” might respond, “High left english” or “A bit of bottom right english”, etc. to explain that both top or bottom spin and sidespin was applied.

What do the British call what American players call “english”? Why, “side”, of course!

Also Known As: Side, Sidespin
Examples:
"Avoid english where possible and use center ball or close to it, junior" stated the grumpy old pro.
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