Slang in England and predominantly in East End of London has been used to describe or in some cases hide the meaning of word or words. If you were born within earshot of the bells of St Mary-le-Bow Church, Cheapside, sometimes referred to as ‘Bow Bells’ you were referred to as a cockney. The East End is famous for Pearly Kings and Queens and for their cockney rhyming slang.
An example: “I am just going down the frog and toad!” (frog and toad in cockney means road)
Some of the dart terms do originate from slang terms while others have a bit more of historical meaning and the rest are just a little more obvious.
Probably the most famous dart saying is for a score of 26! Usually a throw consisting of a single 5, single 20 and a single 1. This score is sometimes referred to as ‘bed and breakfast’ or BB for short. But why ‘Bed and breakfast’
This expression or saying is based on the cost for bed and breakfast in the early part of the twentieth century, the cost being 2s 6d (two shillings and sixpence) in old English money.
I recall while playing darts in London as a young lad a score of a treble 5, treble twenty and treble 1 being referred to as a champagne breakfast, an upgrade on the original term but it was purely that and has no other direct link to the cost of a ‘champagne breakfast’.
Below are just some of the terms used. However, an extensive list of dart terms, their origins and meaning can be obtained from ‘Scoring for Show, Doubles for Dough - Bobby George’s Darts lingo’ written by Bobby George and Dr Patrick Chaplin (Darts Historian).
The number 1.
Another term for darts.
Refers to a player who throws very quick smooth darts, like an archer's arrow (also known as a 'Derek'). Contrast "FLOATER".
A score of 95, usually by scoring five 19s.
A score of 45.
The metal portion of the dart (where you grip the dart)
A section of a number / a scoring area of the board i.e. double bed, Treble bed
Reference to the Inner Bull Eye (When the Centre Bull is Black!)
Very large or heavy darts usually made from brass.
Scoring dart falls out of the board or hits the wire (the dart doesn't score)
A score of 26, made up of a single-5, single-20, single-1 in a game of x01. This is a common score in darts because players aiming for the 20 segment (which contains the highest scoring area on the board) will often accidentally hit the 1 and the 5 segments, which are located on either side of the 20. The term comes from the typical price of a bed-and-breakfast in times gone by: 2 shillings and sixpence, or "two and six". (See also "CHIPS")
Landing all three darts in the 1's.
A throw when darts land wildly all over the board.
See DIDDLE FOR THE MIDDLE.
See DIDDLE FOR THE MIDDLE.
Winning a game with a double bull
The centre of the board. (see also: "SINGLE-BULL" and "DOUBLE-BULL") Score of 50
Hitting more than you needed in an x01 game. The darts do not count and the player begins his next turn on the same score he had prior to.
In a Cricket game this refers to high scores base on the number of darts scored. For example a triple-20, single-20, single-20 would be called a C-5 because "5 darts" were scored with three darts.
Hitting treble 20, treble 1 and treble 5 in three darts (see "BREAKFAST")
Keeping score / marking the game.
A score of 26. (See also: "BREAKFAST /BED & BREAKFAST")
A player who just "chucks" the darts at the board, doesn't aim or care.
When a player scores a single digit (less than 10) with three darts, his team-mates would shout out "Circle it!" to the scorekeeper to highlight the terrible throw. A variation on this tradition is to draw a fish around the score, often leading to aquarium-related jokes being aimed at particularly poor or unlucky players.
The dartboard itself, usually in the context of "ROUND THE CLOCK".
The centre of the board. This comes from the cork in the end of a keg where it is tapped. The ends of kegs were used for targets in the game's early days.
Name given to a mental state of a dart thrower unable to release his / her dart during a throw.
The treble-6, so called due to '666', and the fact that it is often hit in error when going for treble-13 or treble-10.
A throw to see who gets one dart closer to the bullseye to determine who throws first in the game. Also known as a "BULL OFF", "MIDDLE FOR MIDDLE" and "OUT FOR BULL".
The thin outer ring of the board. In standard x01 games, a double counts for two times the number hit.
On dartboards configured with a bullseye consisting of two concentric circles, the outer circle is commonly green and worth 25 and the inner circle is commonly red and worth 50 points. Hitting the innermost ring of this type of bullseye is a "DOUBLE-BULL". (See also: "BULLSEYE")
A variant of x01 in which a double is needed to start the game.
Hitting the double of a number to win a game of 'x01
Not being able to hit the double needed to win the game.
The lower portion of the board, usually in reference to the 19s in a game of x01.
A game that requires no special shot to begin scoring.
The largest portion of a number (the area between the double and triple ring)
The 'feathers'/ Flights of the dart which makes the dart more aerodynamic
The "wings" at the end of a dart that make it fly straight. Also known as feathers.
Advises all players that the match has now started
Signifies that the match winning double has been hit
A compliment for tight, accurate throwing.
Hitting the T5, T20 & T1 in one throw.
A lose without scoring, see SHUT OUT cricket game
The third dart that miraculously scores a high treble where the first two combined scored low single numbers
A score of three bullseyes in a single throw.
Scoring between 151-180 points in a game of '01
The throw or Toe line. See 'Oche' Oche is pronounced as Hockey
The actual playable area of a dart board (inside the doubles ring). Missing this area entirely is sometimes referred to as "Off the island".
A game variant where a number of players "own" a number on the dartboard and compete to build up "lives" (by hitting that number) until a threshold is reached (usually 4 or 6) before attempting to "kill" other players by removing the lives they have built up (by hitting those other players' numbers) until a single player is left.
One game of a match. Most professional matches are made up of a number of sets, each of which is split into legs.
Signifies that a player has completed (Won) the "leg" as per Game Shot.
Name given to the treble twenty made famous by Geordie darts commentator Sid Waddell
The single bed between the bull and the triple
Scoring between 100-150 points in a game of '01
The double-1. At least two explanations for the term have been proffered; because it can drive you crazy trying to hit one in a game of x01, or because it impossible to "get out" of the mad house - once a player has a score of 2 the only way to finish the game is by hitting a double-1.
A score of 180
A score of 170 to end a game. treble-20, treble-20, inner bull
See "DIDDLE FOR THE MIDDLE".
A person who deliberately scores too many more points than needed to win the game cricket game not 501.
Scoring 44 finish i.e single 4 and double 20 (tops). It is a reference to the ' Four Tops' group that were associated with the Motown Music label
Loser of the previous game goes first in the next game.
Another word for 1. See "Bucket of Nails" and "Bag of Nails".
A score of 37 (usually by hitting a 20, a 5 and a 12). The phrase is believed to have its origins in a Monty Python sketch.
The throw line you stand behind and to throw the darts. (pronounced 'Hockey')
The out scoring area of the centre bullseye- score of 25.
Least number of darts to win a leg of darts 501 - 9 darts
When a player scores a maximum 180 points in one throw of three darts.
When a player finishes a game with a maximum score of 170. This must be done by scoring treble 20, treble 20, double bull, with only three darts. This is considerably more difficult than hitting a perfect score as the player must break focus to change targets and it can only be done if the player has an exact score of 170 remaining.
The point of the dart, steel tipped or plastic.
When you throw a dart into the shaft of another.
Throwing three triples in one turn in Cricket.
Scoring 66 points in a throw.
Any of a number of game variants where players compete to be the first to hit all the segments on the board in an agreed order (usually numerical), finishing with the outer bull followed by the bull. In some versions hitting a double entitles the player to skip the next number, with a treble entitling the player to skip two numbers. Also commonly played by single players as a form of practice.
The part of a dart behind the barrel when the flights are mounted.
A score of a single, double and triple in the same number. "Shanghai" sometimes refers to a checkout of 120 (single, treble and double 20). In some games this is an automatic win i.e in a game of Shanghai.
"The origins of this term have been difficult to find, however, it could have originated from ‘Shanghai Rummy’ a card game when the object is to get three of a kind or three sets of three cards. Although this explanation is plausible due to the fact a cribbage board was used as an early scoring device for darts, then 301 games. It doesn’t explain why ‘Shanghai’.
I believe the reason why Shanghai may be used is because Shanghai is divided into 3 counties and 16 districts. The 3 counties are Fengxian, Nanhui and Chongming. The 16 districts are Hangpu, Luwan, Changning, Putuo, Hongkou, Minhang, Jiading, Jinshan, Songjiang, Qingpu, Nanshi, Xuhui, Jing'an, Zhabei, Yangpu, Baoshan, and Pudong New Area.
So, Shanghai has three counties, three of a kind, three within the same region. Well I believe this may explain the three and it is more likely the dart term came from a card game rather than a direct link to Shanghai.
I can find no other reasonable explanation. There are many variants of the card came Rummy including Indian and contract Rummy. However, there is a theory of Chinese origins of this card game. At some point in the 19th Century and the card game was then called Khanhoo/Majong. However, there are many claims to the original Rummy and many variations."
American terms for dart thrower
When you lose a game without ever scoring in it.
On dartboards configured with a bullseye consisting of two concentric circles, the outer circle is commonly green and worth 25 and the inner circle is commonly red and worth 50 points. Hitting the outermost ring of this type of bullseye is a "SINGLE-BULL". (See also: "BULLSEYE")
Darts that score, but not where you wanted them. (See also: "SPLASH")
The dartboard wire assembly which divides the scoring segments of the dartboard.
Darts that score, but not where you wanted them. (See also: "SLOP")
Throwing a dart between the digits of the 11 on the number ring. (Split double 1!)
Dart landing on top and touching a previous dart thrown forming a stacked effect.
The darts themselves.
A game that requires no special shot to begin scoring.
Ending a game of '01 without having to hit a double, but hitting the required i.e. ten required 10 hit not necessarily double 5
Hitting a double bull when "DIDDLING FOR THE MIDDLE" - comes from the black centre of some modern dart boards.
Three darts in the same number.
The line you stand behind and throw the darts from also known as the 'Oche' Line / Toe Line.
The line you stand behind and throw the darts from also known as the 'Oche' Line / Throw Line.
A score of 100 in a game of x01.
Scoring 100+ points in a throw (Ton 40 would be 140 points)
The double 20 bed. As in "he wants tops for the match".
The thin inner ring of the board, it usually counts for three times the number hit.
Scoring 76 points in a throw.
Scoring 26 points in a throw (Old English money term)
Scoring 88 points in a throw.
Dart landing underneath and touching a previous dart thrown forming an 'under stacking' effect.
The upper portion of the board, usually in reference to the 20s.