From Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search
See also: English


Alternative forms


Uncertain. It is speculated to relate either to people from England introducing the technique for billiards or bowling in the United States, or perhaps from a particular person with the surname English.[1]



english (uncountable)

  1. Spinning or rotary motion given to a ball around the vertical axis, as in billiards or bowling.
    You can't hit it directly, but maybe if you give it some english.
    • 2005, S. Moran, Bronx Boy: Book One of The Zombie Island Trilogy, page 179:
      There was a magical way of putting English on the dice to result in a six.
  2. (by extension, figurative) An unusual or unexpected interpretation of a text or idea, a spin, a nuance.
    • 1988, Andre Romelle Young (lyrics and music), “Express Yourself”, in Straight Outta Compton[1], performed by Dr. Dre, Ruthless Records:
      Some drop science, while I'm dropping english.
    • 1993, Thomas Cripps, Making Movies Black[2], page 94:
      Preston Sturgis in his Sullivan’s Travels (1942) put some english on the idea in a bit about a filthy, defeated, white chaingang that is invited to a rural black church for an evening of old movies.



See also


  1. ^ english” under “English”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, December 2008.