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A glossary of marble terms

Many of the colorful terms used for marbles had roots in 16th century England, and were added to on the streets of American cities. Some of them include:

Aggie: Nickname for a marble made out of agate or a glass marble that looks like agate.

Alley: Short for alabaster, a marble that is actually made out of marble.

Bennington: A marble made of glazed stoneware or crockery. Named for a resemblance to 19th century glazed pottery produced in Bennington, Vt., although marbles were apparently never made there.

Cats-eye: One of the most common mass-produced marbles, it is clear with a color insert that somewhat resembles the look of a cat's pupil.

Ducks: The marbles that are being shot at. A "dead duck" is a marble in a can't-miss shot. Other names for target marbles include mibs, miggs, miggies and mibbies.

Fudging: A term used for cheating.

Knuckle down: Shooting technique where one knuckle (most often the index finger) of your shooting hand comes in contact with the ground.

Lagging: A means of choosing who plays first. Players draw a line in the dirt and roll their marbles toward it. The closest one gets to play first.

Marrididdle: A handmade clay marble.

Peewee: A marble that is smaller than average, generally 1/2-inch in diameter or less. May have been named after famed Brooklyn Dodger Pee Wee Reese.

Playing for fair: Marbles go back to their owners after the game.

Playing for keeps: Whoever knocks marbles out of the ring gets to keep them. Sometimes called Keepsies.

Quitsies or no quitsies: A rule established before the game that allows players to quit at any time with no consequence (quitsies) or with a penalty (no quitsies).

Shooter: A larger marble used to knock smaller marbles out of the ring.

Snooger: A near-miss shot, as in "missed by a snooger."

Taw: Sometimes used as another name for a shooter. Other slang names for bigger marbles include boulder, masher, popper, bumbo, bumboozer, bowler, tonk, godfather and giant.