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See also: -oche and Oche



Possibly from Middle French oche (notch), from Old French ocher, ochier (to make a notch in; to notch),[1], which, according to Partridge, could be related to French hocher and English nick (small cut, notch).



oche (plural oches)

  1. (darts) A line behind which a player's front foot must be placed when throwing a dart. [from 1930s]
    • 1950, Edmond Hoyle; Lawrence H. Dawson, “Darts”, in Hoyle’s Games Modernized, 20th edition, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, OCLC 560444866; republished as The Complete Hoyle’s Games (Wordsworth Reference), Ware, Hertfordshire: Wordsworth Editions, 1994, →ISBN, page 457:
      As has been mentioned, Darts of to-day is essentially a "public-house game," and in pretty nearly every inn, club, or institute where it has a footing (and in which has it not!) will be found minor variations in play and often games that are peculiar to the locality or even to the "school" itself. [] And in this domestic circle, at all events, it is thought that this set of Rules will prove a useful guide when taken in conjunction with what has already been said as regards the board, its position, the hockey-line, etc.
    • 1977, Harry Harrison, chapter 22, in Skyfall, [London]: Hamlyn Publishing Group, OCLC 174111720:
      Henry Lewis's body was tense, taut, his toes against the hockey, his right arm raised, his left eye half-closed. With grim intensity, backed by years of practice and experience, he sighted along the steel point, drew his arm back—and let the dart fly.
    • 1985, Keith Turner, Darts, 1st Perennial Library edition, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Row, →ISBN, page 22:
      Small bars would tend to produce short hockeys; the tiny fishing pubs of Yarmouth gave rise to 6ft marks []
    • 2003, John Haigh, “Let’s Play Best of Three”, in Taking Chances: Winning with Probability, new edition, Oxford; New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press, →ISBN, page 158:
      When top players are aiming to maximize their total with three darts, their average score can exceed 100; they also expect to hit the closing double with their first or second attempt. Reaching the target within 15 darts (i.e. five visits to the oche, to slip into the vernacular) is not unusual; []
    • 2008, Eric Bristow; [Paul Carter], “The Milky Bar Kid”, in The Crafty Cockney: Eric Bristow: The Autobiography, London: Century, →ISBN; republished London: Arrow Books, 2010, →ISBN, page 173:
      The pièce de résistance was the bar where I had over a dozen dart boards with pop-up oches. It was a massive success.
    • 2016, Susie Dent, “Keeping ’Em on the Island: Darters”, in Dent’s Modern Tribes: The Secret Languages of Britain, London: John Murray, →ISBN:
      Whether a player is a bullshitter, adept at hitting bullseyes, or a chucker, who throws the darts willy-nilly and hopes for the best, the pull of the oche is the same.
    • 2017, Howard Jacobson, “The Wages of Indulgence is Darts”, in The Dog’s Last Walk (and Other Pieces), London; New York, N.Y.: Bloomsbury Publishing, →ISBN:
      And it's because something of the mundanely manual still adheres to darts that the players' heroic walk of honour from the green room to the oche is so incongruous. The fanfare begins, the strobes go wild, the crowds roar, hostesses wearing the sort of tinsel dresses that drove me crazy when I was eighteen escort the gladiator into the arena, only he's not a gladiator, he's a plumber.

Alternative forms[edit]


  1. ^ oche” in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press; compare “notch” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2020.

Further reading[edit]


  • Partridge, Eric (2006): Origins: A Short Etymological Dictionary of Modern English





oche f

  1. plural of oca