Billiards vs. Pool

ding13

Member
HK Chinese
I am confused with the difference between "billiards" and "pool' when it refers to the game.

Eg1. "Shall we play billiards tonight?"
Eg2. "Shall we play pool tonight?"

Are they the same game? If so, why do we have two different names for them?

Thanks!
 
  • JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    A quick trip to wikipedia will answer that one for you. They are different and are both forms of cue-sports (some use the generic term billiards to cover them all) - link to wiki.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I think in the UK, people tend to talk of snooker rather than billiards and certainly pool​.
     

    Beryl from Northallerton

    Senior Member
    British English
    From memory, billiards has three balls, pool has sixteen, and snooker (-great name-) twenty-two.

    >> Are they the same game?

    No. I think they stand in relation to each other in the way that draughts does to fox and geese.

    >> If so, why do we have two different names for them?

    There's nothing wrong with a little polysemy.
     

    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    There's nothing wrong with a little polysemy.
    I don't think that having different names for the same thing is polysemy - I think it's synonymy (multiple signifiers with the same signified).

    Polysemy would be the way that "play" can refer to a move in a game, the amount of slack in a rope, or a theatrical work (multiple signifieds of the same signifier).
     

    Beryl from Northallerton

    Senior Member
    British English
    :D That's undoubtedly true.

    I'm having a bad day, and I would correct my post, but for the fact that you've quoted it.

    There's nothing wrong with a bit of synonymy either. :)
     

    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    There should obviously be a word for "having lots of strange Greek words in your language that refer to highly specific things and that all sound pretty much the same." ;)

    And English loves synonyms. It's probably the oddest thing about our language. We're always trying to come up with new ways to say old things, instead of trying to say new things with the words we already have!
     

    ding13

    Member
    HK Chinese
    There should obviously be a word for "having lots of strange Greek words in your language that refer to highly specific things and that all sound pretty much the same." ;)

    And English loves synonyms. It's probably the oddest thing about our language. We're always trying to come up with new ways to say old things, instead of trying to say new things with the words we already have!
    haha, love this explanation with a historian perspective.
     
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