One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1mass noun A form of pool using two sets of seven coloured or patterned balls, together with one black ball and one white cue ball, the aim being to pocket all of one's own balls followed by the black, which is numbered eight.
- ‘In the game of eight ball you will be exposed to many pitfalls.’
- ‘They finished a game of eight ball and began another.’
- ‘Often times, we hold back in the game of eight ball because we think we will end up with no finishing shot and our opponent will have a clear change to win the game.’
- ‘But winning at eight ball during lunch hour isn't his only passion.’
- ‘He took up snooker and eight ball pool, becoming good at both.’
- 1.1count noun The black ball, numbered eight, in the game of eight ball.
- ‘He swallowed everything from live fish to an eight ball, and they all came back up.’
- ‘The eight ball fell into the pocket, followed a second later by the cue ball.’
- ‘‘Thanks,’ Mitchell said simply, then failed at shooting the black eight ball into the corner pocket.’
- ‘The cue stick slipped between his fingers, the tip of it barely scratching the eight ball.’
- ‘I've reversed banked many an eight ball to give my opponent a ‘hopeless’ feeling.’
- ‘The cue ball causes the eight ball to roll into a pocket.’
- ‘Sure enough, everything not in a pocket was striped except for the black eight ball, which Violet was aiming at with a look of concentration on her face.’
2North American informal A portion of an illegal drug weighing an eighth of an ounce (3.54 g).
- ‘At the end we were doing an eight ball of heroin and an eight ball of coke a day.’
- ‘They are accused of selling an eight ball of coke to another cop.’
- ‘We had done shrooms, and other psychadelics, but we decided that between four of us we would buy an eight-ball and snort some lines.’
- ‘The lab did not check to see how much of the eight ball was meth and how much was cutting agent.’
- ‘We're talking people who need a abacus to work out how many grams are in an eight ball.’
behind the eight ball
informal At a disadvantage.‘don't let cash-flow crises put you behind the eight ball’
- ‘We certainly don't want to fall behind the eight ball on that.’
- ‘I know I am really behind the eight ball on this one.’
- ‘This might put us behind the eight ball for the first couple of races or so, but in the long run it's going to be the right thing to do for our program.’
- ‘He was behind the eight ball in terms of fitness two months before the season even started.’
- ‘We find ourselves, though, increasingly behind the eight ball when it comes to recruiting and paying for those faculty and staff because of that gap.’
- ‘‘After yesterday's performance we were really behind the eight ball,’ he said.’
- ‘They know that they are unproductive and are a bit behind the eight ball.’
- ‘In that respect, any free independent publication will be starting behind the eight ball, with no subsidies, let alone a historical tradition or audience.’
- ‘It is clear that students from poorer families start behind the eight ball and are not given enough extra assistance’
- ‘The pay rises are so small people are always behind the eight ball.’
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