Jai-Alai Glossary

All the Jai-Alai terms you need to know to enjoy watching and wagering


Arrimada - A shot that hugs the side wall, making the catch more difficult.

Bote Pronto - An underhand catch on a short hop. Better known in English as "scoop" or "scoooooooop."

Buzzball - IG slang for a ball that is thrown really, really, really hard.

Cancha - The playing court.

Carom - Uhhh, it's a carom. Really! You know, like a bank shot off the side wall.

Cesta - That basket thing hanging from the player's arm.

Chic Chac - A shot that hits the floor close to the back wall, then low on the back wall, then quickly back to the floor, making it almost impossible to return. In other words, forget about it.

Chula - A shot that hits right at the base of the back wall and comes out without bouncing. In other words, really forget about it.

Cinta - The thingamajig that the players use to tie the cesta to their hand.

Cortada - A shot thrown from the outside part of the court. Thrown hard with a sidearm motion, it hits low on the front wall. In amateur play, it is sometimes accompanied by the thrower yelling "Eat it!"

Contracancha - The wooden area, similar to a basketball court, between the court and the screen.

Costado - A shot thrown backhanded from shoulder height, like a left-handed baseball hitter swinging. If an amateur tries it, players in front should get out of the way - fast. Not to be confused with tostado, a Mexican food.

Dejada - A soft lob shot that barely reaches the front wall and comes back with a small bounce. Often illicits cries of "Chickenbleep" or "Girlyman" from irate opponents. The thrower may respond with "Sit down, loser" but a simple, smug smirk will usually suffice.

Delantero - The frontcourt player. The player in the front. The guy not in the back. GIGIG?

Dos paredes - Literally, two walls. A carom shot that hits the side wall, then the front wall.

Exacta - A wager in which the top two finishers in the game must finish in exact order. Exact - exacta - get it? Same as perfecta.

Faja - A sash worn as a belt. It keeps the players' pants from falling down. Can also be used to choke someone from behind, as happened once at Milford.

Frontis - The front wall that takes all that punishment from thousands of balls hitting it every day. Made of granite from a secret quarry that only a select few in the business know about.

Fronton - The building in which the game is played.

Kill shot - Most any winning shot, especially one thrown where the opponent has no chance of return.

Mucho! - Yelled by players or fans in appreciation of a great play.

Partido - A type of game in which two players or two teams play to a fixed amount of points. Classic showdown. No gimmicks.

Pelota - The ball - it's hard - it goes really fast.

Perfecta - Same as exacta, dimwit.

Picada - An overhead shot thrown with a lot of wrist snap, resulting in a high bounce.

Putaway - A shot that puts you away. Duh!

Quiniela - A bet in which you pick the first two finishers in either order.

Rebote - Any shot made after the ball has hit the back wall. Also refers to the back wall itself.

Remate - A two-wall shot that is thrown backhanded in a sidearm motion. Can also be used to refer to any type of putaway or kill shot.

Superfecta - A bet where you have to pick the first four finishers in exact order. Are you kidding me? There are 1,680 possible combinations.

Trifecta - A bet where you have to pick the first three finishers in exact order. Not the easiest thing to do. There are 336 possible combinations.

Zaguero - The backcourt player. The player in the back. The guy not in the front. You get the idea.


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