Origin of the name Billiards

The precise origin of the word billiards remains a mystery. The game was extremely fashionable in France and was played by members of the ruling classes within French society. The game was played with a mace (billart) and ball (bille). There is little conclusive evidence to back this theory up, however, In my opinion, I do feel that this is the most obvious explanation.

There is another train of thought that the root of the word derived from the English language. Dr Samuel Johnson, author of the English Dictionary claims billiards derives from Halyards, (a game played with balls and sticks). This was played in a yard and is far removed from the riley snooker table that we see today.

Other sources say the game was originally called ball-yard in England. It is said that the game was played by William Kew, an English pawnbroker who designed an indoor version of the game played with a yardstick after continuously having his game interrupted by the rain outside his London shop. (Bill’s yard = Billiards and Kew becoming cue).

Whatever the origin of the word the game of billiards was well established by 1571 when a French artist known as Henrique De Vigne drew up a code of rules during the reign of Charles ix. He also started to design tables (similar to the modern snooker table) on which the game was played.

The game has evolved into playing on a  snooker table and where room is at a minimum you can easily utilise what space there is by having a solid Mahogany, Ash or Oak snooker dining table.

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