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Pickleball Slang Terms You Should Know

by Adam Forziati on

Pickleball is still a (relatively) new phenomenon, and as such, it has plenty of opportunity to expand its lexicon.

Pickleball slang terms have popped up left and right: "getting pickled," "golden pickle," "body bag"... these are but a few of the most common terms popular in the community now.

But how will the language evolve?

We asked our newsletter readers to tell us their favorite bit of pickleball slang, and boy, did they deliver (see the bottom of the send for all the comments).

We just had to share a few of them here. Enjoy!


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Real pickleball terminology

Here are some terms which are either widely-used in pickleball or should be:

  • Kitchen: aka Non Volley Zone, these are the front two rectangular boxes which enclose the net; you're not allowed to step into the kitchen unless the ball bounces in it first.
  • Dink: to softly hit a ball from near the kitchen/kitchen line into your opponent's kitchen, attempting to hit an unattackable, short drop (learn everything there is to know about dinking here).
  • Body bag: a shot which successfully targets your opponent's body; a body shot.
  • Stack: refers to a doubles strategy where players line up on one side of the court before the serve in order to move into their preferred spot on court once the point begins, theoretically lending them an advantage in court position.
  • Shake-n-bake: a doubles play where the third shot is driven and the other player in the serving team rushes the net for a putaway.
  • Getting pickled: losing with zero points.
  • Tweener: hitting a ball through your own legs, particularly when you don't have time to step back for a proper shot.
  • Nutmeg or 5-hole: hitting a ball which goes through your opponent's legs.
  • Nasty Nelson: when the server intentionally hits the non-receiving opposite player with the ball instead of serving to the intended target (striking that player earns the serving team a point).
  • Fly Swatter: hitting a ball down into the net when trying to slam a high ball.
  • Let Ace, or Lettuced: when your serve hits the top of the net, still lands in, and returner doesn’t get paddle on ball, that’s a let ace; they’ve been “lettuced.”
  • Erne: jumping over your corner of the kitchen into the legal standing spot outside of the court while hitting an offense shot downward in midair.
  • Bert: the same as an erne, but conducted on your partner's side of the court.
  • ATP (Around the Post): as the name implies, this is when you hit a low return around the net's post.

A few jokes

We thought we'd throw a few humorous ones in just for fun:

  • Pedicure: hitting your opponent’s foot.
  • Manicure: hitting your opponent’s hand.
  • Full wax: hitting something no one wants to hit.

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