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The terms and vocabulary associated with lawn bowling can be confusing to novices. The following set of terms is by no means exhaustive, but is provided as clarification to new bowlers who wish to understand and take part in the conversations of the more experienced. Terms, discussions, and photographs are offered as guides. Please submit additional vocabulary, definitions and pictures, which you believe would be helpful.

Terms & Vocabulary W through Z

Wayward Bowl:

Sometimes a bowl will enter an adjacent rink either because of delivery on the wrong bias, too wide, or two narrow.  Wayward bowls may cause damage to the head on that rink.  The player who delivered the bowl should warn the players who are managing the head that a wayward bowl is approaching.  The head manager may lift a bowl at rest to avoid disruption or may halt the progress of the wayward bowl.  If a wayward bowl is stopped it will be returned to the player that delivered it so that the shot may be replayed.

Wayward Bowl

Wedges are any aids, which can be used to secure the location of either the jack or a bowl to ensure that the jack or bowl does not move during the measuring process.


The amount of energy you will use to propel the bowl a desired distance is called the weight.  If the jack is almost at the end of the green, you will give the bowl more momentum than if the jack is positioned closer to you.  Judging the correct weight will become easier as you get greater experience with a set of bowls.  In the illustration the player is trying to determine the required weight with which she will send the bowl along her line of aim. Weight is also known as speed.

Wick Bowl:

If the natural path is obstructed an alternate strategy must be used. A bowl can be delivered to either the right or the left of the jack so that it can be used later as a means of deflecting a delivered bowl closer to the jack. Such a bowl is called a wick bowl.  The two red bowls in the example to the right are potential wick bowls.

Wick Bowl
Wick Shot:

If your bowl touches another bowl, changes direction, and continues to move, it is described as having ‘wicked off’ that bowl.  Highly skilled players make this shot deliberately to have their bowl reach a particular target.  For novices it is usually accidental.  In the example to the right the red bowl is wicking off the blue bowl.

Wick Shot
Wide Bowl:

A bowl that does not cross in front of or behind the jack, but stays wide of it is known as a wide bowl.  The red bowl in the photograph to the right has been delivered in a wide position.

Wide Bowl
Wing Bowl:

A wing bowl is a bowl that comes to rest in a lateral position to the right or the left of the jack.  The advantage of a wing bowl is that an experienced bowler may use it to wick in to the jack.  In the illustration the two red bowls could be considered to be wing bowls.

Wing Bowl

Some bowls when delivered fail to roll smoothly and develop a wobble before ultimately rolling more smoothly.  The series of bowls shown in the photograph represent the alternating extremes of a wobbly bowl.  Wobbles affect the accuracy of a bowl.  Wobbling is caused when the bowl is not released with the rings parallel to the aiming line.

Wresting Bowl:

A wresting bowl is a bowl that is used to take away some advantage of an opponent using considerable force, however not as much force as a drive shot or runner. An opponent's bowl could be positioned such as: a wing bowl which has the potential for a future wick shot; a blocker which may impede a drive shot; a bowl in the head limiting the possible score of the player's team; or a backest bowl which would come into play if the jack is move significantly down the rink. In the illustration the opponent's red bowl is sitting second shot. If it is wrested further out of the head the scoring could change considerably.

Wresting Bowl Image
Wrong Bias:

If a bowl is accidently delivered with the bias on the wrong side, the bowl will not curve towards the jack, but away from the jack.  The red bowl illustrated is travelling well away from the intended path because it has been delivered with the wrong bias.  Make it a practice to check your bowl every time you pick it up and position it in your hand correctly. 

Wrong Bias
Yard-on Shot:

A bowl that is delivered with sufficient speed to move the jack or another bowl approximately one metre further up the rink is said to be a yard-on shot.  In the illustration the green spotted bowl has been delivered with enough force to reposition the brown bowl one yard on up the rink. In some places this type of delivery is known as an up shot.

Yard-on Shot
Yellow Jack:

On artificial surfaces sometimes a yellow jack is used because of the relatively smooth playing area. Yellow jacks are heavier than white jacks and thus more difficult to move due to their greater inertia. Yellow jacks are less likely to be knocked out of bounds or into the ditch. Some players prefer yellow jacks because of a greater contrast to the white shoes worn by bowlers.

Yellow Jack
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