Descriptions of many terms and
expressions used in the sport of badminton.
- Alley - extension of the court by 1-1/2 feet on both sides
for doubles play
- Back Alley- Area between the back boundary line and the
long service line for doubles.
- Backcourt- Back third of the court, in the area of the back
- Balk (Feint)- Any deceptive movement that disconcerts an
opponent before or during the service.
- Baseline- Back boundary line at each end of the court,
parallel to the net.
- Carry- An illegal tactic, also called a sling or a throw,
in which the shuttle is caught and held on the racquet and then slung
during the execution of a stroke.
- Center or Base Position- Location in the center of the
court to which a singles player tries to return after each shot.
- Center Line- Line perpendicular to the net that separates
the left and right service courts.
- Clear- A shot hit deep to the opponents back boundary line.
The high clear is a defensive shot, while the flatter
attacking clear is used offensively.
- Court- Area of play, as defined by the outer boundary
- Drive- A fast and low shot that makes a horizontal flight
over the net.
- Drop- A shot hit softly and with finesse to fall rapidly
and close to the net on the opponent's side.
- Fault- A violation of the playing rules, either in serving,
receiving, or during play.
- Feint (Balk)- Any deceptive movement that disconcerts an
opponent before or during the service.
- Flick- A quick wrist and forearm rotation that surprises an
opponent by changing an apparently soft shot into a faster passing
one; used primarily on the serve and at the net.
- Forecourt- Front third of the court, between the net and the
short service line.
- Hairpin Net Shot- Shot made from below and very close to
the net with the shuttle rising, just clearing the net, and then
dropping sharply down the other side. The shuttle's flight
approximates the shape of a hairpin.
- Halfcourt Shot- A shot hit low and to midcourt, used
effectively in doubles against the up-and-back formation.
- Kill- fast downward shot that cannot be returned; a
- Let- A legitimate cessation of play to allow a rally to be
- Long Service Line- In singles, the back boundary line. In
doubles a line 2-1/2 feet inside the back boundary line. The serve may
not go past this line.
- Match- A series of games to determine a winner.
- Midcourt- The middle third of the court, halfway between
the net and the back boundary line.
- Net Shot- Shot hit from the forecourt that just clears the
net and then falls rapidly.
- Push Shot- Gentle shot played by pushing the shuttle with
little wrist motion, usually from the net or midcourt to the opponent's
- Racquet (Racket)- Instrument used by the player to hit the
shuttlecock. Weight about 90 grams (3 oz). Length 680 mm (27 in). Made
from metal alloys (steel/aluminum) or from ceramic, graphite or boron
composites. Generally strung with synthetic strings or natural gut.
- Rally- Exchange of shots while the shuttle is in play.
- Serve (Service)- Stroke used to put the shuttlecock into
play at the start of a rally.
- Service Court- Area into which the serve must be delivered.
Different for singles and doubles play.
- Short Service Line- The line 6-1/2 feet from the net which
a serve must reach to be legal.
- Shuttlecock (Shuttle)- Official name for the object that
the players must hit. Composed of 16 goose feathers attached to a cork base
covered with leather. Synthetic shuttles are also used by some.
- Smash- Hard-hit overhead shot that forces the shuttle
sharply downward. Badminton's primary attacking stroke.
- Wood Shot- Shot that results when the base of the shuttle
is hit by the frame of the racket. Once illegal, this shot was ruled
acceptable by the International Badminton Federation in 1963.
References and Contributors:
Please submit corrections, additions, and other comments to
Stan Bischof (firstname.lastname@example.org)