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A glossary of marble terms

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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.