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"A Lexicon of Mibology" Marbles truly has a unique lexicon:

From Ferretti (pg. 40), by Ferretti, F. (1973). The great American marble book. New York: Workman Pub.


AGGIE - a shooter made from the mineral, agate.

According to Streetplay.com - Aggie - either a marble made out of agate or a glass marble that looks like it's agate. A glass or imitation aggie is also called an immie.

According to Marble (toy) - Aggie - made of agate (aggie is short for agate) or glass resembling agate, with various patterns like in the alley.

According to Ferretti (1973) - Aggies - Marbles slightly larger than usual size, most often of agate, sometimes of limestone.  Most from from Germany, are heavy, and highly prized.

ALLIES - derived from alley tors; prized shooters made of semiprecious minerals.

AMERICAN FRIED  - Larger than average marbles, of glass, that have been heated, then iced, created inner cracks.  Used as shooters (Ferretti 1973).

ANTE - The number of marbles agreed upon as stakes for the winner or to put into an enclosure and shot at - for keeps (Ferretti 1973).

ANNEAL - to gradually reduce glass temperature in an oven or Lehr, so has to inhibit cracking in glass.

AVENTURINE - a type of glass containing particles of either copper (goldstone), chromic oxide (green aventurine) or ferric oxide (red aventurine), giving glass a glittering or shimmering appearance.

BIG RING  - Game similar to Ring Taw and Ringer (Ferretti 1973).

BLACK BEAUTIES   - Shooters usually made of obsidian or black agate.  Heavy, extremely rare and prized (Ferretti 1973). 

BOMBSIES -  Dropping your shooter on the target marble (Streetplay.com).

According to Ferretti (1973) -Bomber - Another name for Chasing or Trailing.

According to Ferretti (1973) -Bombsie - A rather unsophisticated arching, dropping shot.


BOSS - A shooter; also short for Boss-Out, a chase game (Ferretti 1973).

BOWLERS  - Large shooters, often aggies, often of scrap glass, but just as often reflectors prized out of traffic signs.  Generally regarded as prizes because of the danger inherent in securing them (Ferretti 1973).

BOWLING  - Rolling or throwing a shooter marble along the ground to hit a target.  Bowling is generally popular with those how aren't much good at shooting.  At the beginning of a game, players often bowl to see who goes first (Ferretti 1973).

BULLSEYE - Shooting at a hole in the ground or at the marked off center of a designated area.  Those who play it say it is a skill game; those more honest admit there's a large element of "luck" (Ferretti 1973).

BUMBOOZER  - A very large marble, used as a bowling shooter.  Also called a Boulder, or Caboulder or Scaboulder (Ferretti 1973).

CANE - a long glass rod constructed of layers of different colors.

CANDY STRIPES  - Swirled red and white or red, white and blue marble.  Prized early German glassies (Ferretti 1973). 

CATS EYES  - Glass marbles with football-shaped wedges of color in otherwise clear glass (Ferretti 1973).

CHALKIES - unglazed marbles made from clay, limestone or gypsum.

CHASE GAMES  - Basically a game in which players chase one another's marble, trying to hit the opponent's thereby winning it.  Chase games neither call for enclosures - rings, squares, triangles - nor holes or pots (Ferretti 1973).

CHIP - the spot where a piece has broken off the surface of a marble, usually from being hit. Small chips are sometimes called "flakes". A barely visible chip is sometimes called a "pinprick" or "pinpoint".

CLAMS  - Marbles (Ferretti 1973).

CLAMBROTH - milk glass marbles in solid color having many thin outer swirl lines of a different color or colors running from pontil to pontil.

CLAY - marbles made of clay which may or may not be colored or glazed.

CLAYEYS  - Small marbles of clay.  Never used as shooters but rather as target or object marbles.  Held in low esteem (Ferretti 1973).

CLEARANCE!  - A defensive shout which permits one to clear away roughness or debris before shooting.  Such a shout negates a possible "Smoothie" penaly (Ferretti 1973).

CLEARIE - clear glass marbles made in a variety of single colors.

According to Ferretti (1973) - Cleareys - Clear glass marbles, often tinted and bubbly inside.

CLODKNOCKERS  - Ordinary marbles to be shot at (Ferretti 1973). 

CLOUD - an End of Day marble where the colored flecks of glass in the marble are not stretched, such that they resemble clouds floating above the core.

COMIC - marbles manufactured by the Peltier Glass Company from 1928 through 1934. They have one of twelve different comic characters stamped and fired onto the marble, such that the transfer is permament. May also have a transfer of Tom Mix or Cotes Bakery.

COMMIES - playing marbles made out of clay.

According to Ferretti (1973) - Commies - pronounced "Come-ee" not "Commie" as in "Commie Rat."  The small marbles at which shooters are shot.

COMMONS - See Commies (Ferretti 1973).

CONTEMPORARY GLASS - a marble handmade by a modern craftsman.

CROCKIES  - See Commies (Ferretti 1973).

CRYSTAL - very clear, colorless glass.

CULLET - pieces of broken glass that are to be added to a batch.

CUNNY THUMB  - To shoot with the knuckles off the ground. Regarded as a "sissy" way of shooting (Ferretti 1973).

DEAD DUCK - This means an easy shot (Glossary: Marbles Edition).

DIAMETER - the length of a straight line through the center of a sphere. The size of a marble is measured by its diameter.

DIBS  - Clay marbles, clayeys (Ferretti 1973). 

DING - the mark left on the surface of the marble by a small blow. The glass on the area damaged is still intact (unlike a chip). This mark is sometimes called a "moon", "subsurface moon" or "bruise".

DIVIDED CORE - swirl-type glass marble having colored bands in the center running from pontil to pontil.

DOUGHIES  - Another name for clayeys (Ferretti 1973).

DUBS  - Hitting two or more marbles out of a ring with one shot.  The caroms involved make this one of the prettiest shots in championship play.  Also used as another name for Ringer (Ferretti 1973).

DUCKS - Object marbles, to be shot at (Ferretti 1973) .

EDGERS  - Marbles near the edge of the ring (Ferretti 1973).

EGGIES - Short for "Can I borrow a few marbles? as in "Eggies on the aggies?" (Ferretti 1973).

ENCLOSURE GAMES  Also called circle games.  Games in which marbles are shot within a confined area outlined on the ground.  The shapes are usually geometric, most often a circle or a square (Ferretti 1973). 

END-OF-CANE A handmade marble that was the first (start-of-cane) or final (last-of-cane) one produced from a cane. These are identifiable as marbles where the internal design ends before one of the pontil marks.

END OF DAY - a handmade glass marble that contains small stretched or unstretched flecks of colored glass that do not run continuously unbroken from pontil to pontil.

ENGLISH  - To give the shooting marble backspin, causing the target marble to carom off in unexpected directions (Ferretti 1973).

EYE DROPS  - Dropping a shooter directly down on an object marble.  A "luck" shot (Ferretti 1973).


From Ferretti (pg. 44), by Ferretti, F. (1973). The great American marble book. New York: Workman Pub.


FENS!  - Or Fins! or Finns! An all-inclusive call by which a player can suspend all rules until he has planned his shot.  A mot valuable offensive ploy (Ferretti 1973).

FLAKE - Spot on a marble where it hit another, and a thin layer of glass came off. More shallow than a chip.

FLINTS  - Another name for aggies (Ferretti 1973).

FOR FAIR  - Playing only for the results of a game.  All of the marbles won are returned, either to their owner or to the tournament (Ferretti 1973). 

FOR KEEPS  - For keeps (Ferretti 1973).

FRACTURE- an internal stress line caused by a blow to the surface, chemical stress or thermal stress to the glass. This term also refers to a hairline crack in a sulphide figure caused during manufacture.

FREESE IMPROVEMENT - modification made to Akro Agate machinery that eliminated tiny seam at either end of a machine made marble and made them smoother. Involved off-setting the rollers on the marble-making machine. Named after an Akro employee and implemented around 1927.

FUDGING - When someone steps over the line of the ring (Glossary: Marbles Edition).

According to Ferretti (1973) - Fudging - Easing your hand over the ring line before shooting.  In tournament play this is cheating and carries a one-shot forfeit.  Also used as a general term for cheating.

FURNACE - a pot, day tank or continuous tank fabricated for melting glass.

GATHER - a portion of molten glass on a punty, sometimes called a glob.

GLANCING SHOT - A shot not head on, that hits the target tangentially, then bounces off (Ferretti 1973).

GLASSIES - Glass marbles.  Larger ones are used as shooters (Ferretti 1973).

GLOBOLLA - Giant glass marble used in bowling games.

HANDMADE - marbles that are made without the use of machines. There usually are cut-off marks (pontil marks) on one or both poles of the marble. A handmade glass marble is made by twisting glass off the end of a glass cane or by gathering glass on the end of a metal rod (punty).

HEGGIES - See Eggies (Ferretti 1973).

HEIST - To rest one's shooting hand atop the other hand.  Before shooting, a call of "Heist!" is necessary.  A call of "No Heist!" by another player means one is out of look (Ferretti 1973).

HISTING -  Lifting your knuckle from the ground while shooting (Streetplay.com)

According to Ferretti (1973) - Histing - Raising the hand from the ground before shooting.  This is cheating. 

HIT - When a marble is knocked out of a ring (Ferretti 1973).

HOLE - Also called pot.  Holes in marbles games can vary in depth - from the size of a twelve - year - olds heel to something dug out with a garden spade.  Shallow holes are called saucers (Ferretti 1973). 

HOLE GAMES - Games in which the object is to get marbles in a hole, out of a hole, a certain distance from a hole - always a hold (Ferretti 1973).

HOODLES - Object marbles, to be shot at (Ferretti 1973). 

HUNCHING - Moving the hand forward while shooting.  This is cheating too.  In tournament play this means inching one's hand over the edge of the ring.  Also known as fudging, and carries a one-shot penalty (Ferretti 1973). 

IMMIE - a glass marble streaked with color.

According to Ferretti (1973) - Immies - Imitation agate.  Initially of clay, later of ordinary glass.  In Canada, milky marbles to be shot at, or in a pinch, used as substitute shooters.  In eastern United States, a general term for all marbles games.

INCHING - See Hunching (Ferretti 1973).

INDIAN - Handmade marble consisting of dark base glass with colorful bands applied in the surface or on top of it from pontil to pontil (Ferretti 1973).

JUMBOS - See Globollas and Bowlers.  Also called Caboulders (Ferretti 1973).

KEEPSIES Playing for keeps. You get to keep all the marbles you win (Streetplay.com).

KNUCKLE DOWN - To put one knuckle of your shooting hand in contact with the ground. Most players put the knuckle of their index finger on the ground. You position your shooter in the crook of the index finger and flick it out with your thumb (Streetplay.com).

According to Ferretti (1973) - Knuckle down.  To rest one or more of one's knuckles on the ground while shooting.  A general term denoting the correct form for shooting.  The marble should rest against the ball of the first finger rather than in the crook. 

Knucks down tight - Ditto (Ferretti 1973).

LAGGING - A way of choosing who shoots first. Players roll their marbles toward a line in the dirt (the lag line). Whoever gets closest without going over gets to shoot first (Streetplay.com).

According to Ferretti (1973) - The act of tossing or shooting from the Pitch Line.  Whoever comes closest to the lag line without going over it shoots first.  See Pitch Line.

LAG LINE - A straight line tangent to, and touching, the ring in tournament play (Ferretti 1973).

LATTICINIO - a swirl-type glass marble with thin strands in the center running from pontil to pontil that form a net when the marble was twisted.

LEHR - an annealing furnace or oven.

LITTLE SOLIDS - Small glass marbles, solid color.  Used as target marbles.  The marbles in Chinese checkers sets (Ferretti 1973).

LOFTING - The act of shooting a marble through the air in an arc to hit a marble in the ring.  Also called Popping (Ferretti 1973).

LUTZ - handmade glass marbles that contain finely ground goldstone.

MACHINE MADE - a marble that is made by machines. Generally, they are perfectly round and have no pontil marks. These marbles were made after 1900, predominately in the United States.

MANUFACTURING DEFECT - a fold, crease, additional melted glass or open air bubble on the surface of a marble, or a hairline fractures in sulphide figures.

MARKER - A single marble used as a target (Ferretti 1973).

MARRIDIDDLES - Homemade clayeys (Ferretti 1973).

MIBS - the game of marbles, from a shortening of the word marbles.

According to Streetplay.com - Mibs - The target marbles in a game. Another name is Kimmies.

According to Ferretti (1973) - Object or target marbles.  Also Mibbies, Mibsies, Miggs, and Miggles.

MIBSTER - Someone who plays marbles (Glossary: Marbles Edition).

MICA - mineral silicates that occur in thin sheets and are reflective or silvery in appearance. Coarsely ground flakes of mica are sometimes placed in handmade marbles.

MILKIES - translucent white glassies.

Miss. - When player fails to knock an object marble from the ring (Ferretti 1973). 

MOON - semi-circular chip on a marble.

MONNIES - Another term for shooters (Ferretti 1973).

MOONAGGIES - Marbles made of carnelian.  So named because when they crack, generally from the inside, moon or crescent shapes form on the surfaces.  A cure for the cracks is complete submersion in grease or lard (Ferretti 1973).

ONIONSKIN - an End of Day marble where the colored flecks of glass are stretched, such that the core resembles the skin of an onion.

OPAQUE - a handmade or machine made marble that is a single color and that is so dark that light does not shine through it.

PEDAB - Another name for Doughie (Ferretti 1973).

PEERIES - Small, clear glass marbles (Glossary: Marbles Edition). Often used as another name for cleareys (Ferretti 1973).

PEE WEE - a marble that is 1/2" or less in diameter or a very small marble.

PEPPERMINT - a handmade swirl marble that has bands of red, white and blue under the surface.

PINPRICK - Very tiny mark left in the surface of a marble. May be from either manufacturing or hitting another marble. Tinier than a Pit.

PIT - Very tiny mark left in the surface of a marble from manufacture or from hitting another marble. Too small to be called a chip.

PITCH LINE - A straight line opposite from and parallel with the Lag Line (Ferretti 1973).

PLAYING FOR FAIR - All marbles are returned to owner after the game (Streetplay.com).

PLUMPERS - See Trail

PLUNKING - Hitting the targets on the fly (Streetplay.com).

POLISHED - work which has been done to the surface of a marble to make it more presentable by clearing up cloudiness, surface roughness, scratches or small chips. A polished handmade marble no longer has pontils. A polished machine made marble is missing the top layer of glass. A handmade marble that has been polished, but that still has its pontils is referred to as "buffed". A machine made marble that still retains some of its original surface is also referred to by the same name.

PONTIL - a rough mark left on the pole of a marble where it was sheared off a rod or the end of a punty.

POT - See Hole.

POT MARBLE - Another name for Little Solids (Ferretti 1973).

POTSIES - Another name for Ringer (Ferretti 1973).

POTTY - Circular hole dug into the ground, into which marbles are shot (Ferretti 1973).

PUGGY - Game in which marbles are shot into the Potty (Ferretti 1973).

PUNTY - a long solid metal rod used to hold a glass object that is being made.

PUREY - Small clear glass marbles, brightly colored.  Highly prized and generally worth from two to five clayeys (Ferretti 1973). 

PURGY - See Ringer.

PURIE - a small, brightly colored Clearie.

RAINBOW MIBS - Target marbles (Ferretti 1973).

RAINBOW REELER - A multi-colored shooter (Ferretti 1973).

REALIES - Real marble marbles, as opposed to glass.  Thought to be another name for moonaggies (Ferretti 1973).

RIBBON CORE - a handmade swirl with a single or two flat bands in the center running from pontil to pontil.

RINGER - The "official" marbles game as played in the National Marbles Tournament.  It is played by placing 13 marbles in the form of a cross in the middle of a 10 foot diameter ring.  Shooters shoot from the ring's edge and knock marbles out of the ring.  The first player scoring seven hits wins (Ferretti 1973).

RING TAW - Another name for Ringer (Ferretti 1973).

ROLLSIES! - A defensive call to force a player to roll his shooter in a bowling marbles game rather than throw it (Ferretti 1973).

ROUNDSTERS - Circling around the playing ring, seeking the best shooting position.  Also called Rounders (Ferretti 1973).

SCABOULDER - See Globolla

SCRAPPER - A glass marble made from scrap glass.  Some Bowlers are Scrappers (Ferretti 1973).

SCRUMPY KNUCKLE - To shoot with the knuckles off the ground.  Another name for Cunny Thumb (Ferretti 1973).

SHOOTER - the marble used to aim at and strike other marbles in a game. Regulation size is 1/2" to 3/4".

According to Ferretti (1973) - Shooter - The agate marble shot at other marbles.  Generally slightly larger than the ordinary run of glassies (Ferretti 1973).

SHOOTING - Also called firing, flicking, pinching, dribbling, pinking, dribbying, drizzying, throwing or bowling.  See Knuckle Down (Ferretti 1973).

SHOT - Snapping the marble from the hand with the thumb from where it is held against the ball of the first finger.  Knucks, of course, must be down (Ferretti 1973).

SINGLE GATHER - a marble that was made completely on the end of a punty and not from a cane.

SINGLE PONTIL - a marble with only one pontil, created from either the end of cane or single gathered.

SLAG - a marble made from two different colors of glass that were melted together in the same furnace pot. Due to the differing densities of the glass, they would not melt into a homogeneous color. Handmade slags have pontils. Machine made slags consist of a colored transparent glass with opaque white swirls.

SLIP - Misplay when marble falls from the hand.  Player reshoots (Ferretti 1973).

SMOKIES - Glassies with puffs of color inside (Ferretti 1973).

SMOOTHING - Leveling off, removing obstacles from the ground before shooting.  Forbidden, and carries a one-shot penalty (Ferretti 1973).

SNOOGER - A near miss (Ferretti 1973).

SOLID CORE - a handmade swirl with a series of bands in the center running from pontil to pontil that are spaced so closely together that no clear space remains between each band.

SOLID PEEWEES - Term for the 13 marbles in the center of the championship ring (Ferretti 1973).

SPANNIES - A shooting distance.  The measurement between the tip of the thumb to the tip of the middle finger when stretched apart (Ferretti 1973). 

"SPARKLE" - Mark left on a marble from tapping another. No obvious moon under the surface. The spot just sparkles in the light.

STEELIE - a marble made out of steel that can be either solid or hollow.

According to Ferretti (1973) - Steeley - Usually a ball bearing.  Popular as a shooter in the World War II era.  It helped to have a father who worked in a defense plant (Ferretti 1973).

STICK - When a shooter's marble stops inside the ring after knocking a target marble out of the ring.  The shooter may shoot continually if he continues to stick (Ferretti 1973).

STICKER - Object or target marble (Ferretti 1973).

STRIAE - elongated imperfections in glass caused by temperature differences or unequal density of the materials used. Striae are not fractures.

SUBSURFACE MOON - Mark left under the surface of a marble when it hit another. No glass is missing. Circular bruise mark.

SUGAR - To rough up a shooter either on concrete or with sandpaper to afford oneself a better grip (Ferretti 1973).

SULPHIDE - objects made of china clay and supersilicate of potash that are inserted into a transparent glass sphere.

According to Marble (toy) - Sulphide - antique, handmade German marble; large (1.25 to 3+ inch) clear glass sphere with a small statuette or figure inside. Most common are domesticated animals such as dogs, cats, cows, etc.; then wild animals; human figures are scarce; inanimate objects such as a train or pocket watch are very rare and command high prices. The interior figures are made of white clay or kaolin, and appear a silvery color due to light refraction. A sulphide with a colored-glass sphere, or with a painted figure inside, is also very rare and brings a high price. Like other types of antique marbles, sulphides have been reproduced and faked in large quantities.

SWIRL - either a handmade marble with bands or strands running continuously unbroken from pontil to pontil, or a machine made marble that is manufactured by injecting one or more colors into a base stream of glass.

TARGET - the marble in a game that was shot at by the shooter. Tournament regulations set the size at 5/8".

TAW - derived from alleytor; a prized shooter made of semiprecious stone, usually agate.

According to Streetplay.com - Taw - Another name for a shooter. Shooters are often slightly larger than target marbles. In some games you shoot from behind a taw line.

THREE - FINGER - FLAT - Player shoots with the thumb and first finger while keeping his three other fingers flat to the ground (Ferretti 1973).

THROWSIES - Common sort of shooting in bowling - type games (Ferretti 1973).

TOE - BOMBSIE - Using the toe height to shoot from in bowling games.  Very expert, achieves bouncing caroms (Ferretti 1973). 

TRAIL - General term for marbles games in which shooters follow each other as they move from one location to another.  Also known as Chasing, Plumpers, and scores of other names (Ferretti 1973).

TRANSITIONAL - early machine made marbles that were made partly by hand and partly by machine. Usually the glass was gathered by hand onto a punty and held over the machine. As the molten glass dripped down to the machine, a worker would snip off the proper amount and allow it to fall into the machine to be formed machine. The marble usually has one pontil.

WALK - As in "Take a Walk."  When a player walks through the ring in a match.  He must give up one of the marbles he has won if he does this (Ferretti 1973).

WATERS - Clear glass marbles (Ferretti 1973).

ZULU GOLF - One of many terms for games in which players shoot into a series of holes dug into the ground (Ferretti 1973).




Ferretti, F. (1973). The great American marble book. New York: Workman Pub.

Glossary: Marbles Edition. (2014, August 12). Retrieved July 23, 2016, from http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2014/08/12/336094739/glossary-marbles-edition

Marble (toy). (2016, June 2). Retrieved July 23, 2016, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marble_(toy)

Streetplay.com: Glossary of marbles terms and games. (n.d.). Retrieved July 23, 2016, from http://www.streetplay.com/thegames/marbles/marbleglossary.shtml 

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