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Terminologies of Badminton

This section contains terminologies of badminton listed from A to Z with pictures and videos. You will find 100s of badminton terms and definitions used by players and officials.

You can shoot through to the most common badminton terminology by clicking the alphabetic facility below. Or, take a timeout and scroll down to sharpen your knowledge and general understanding.

Badminton Terminologies Used in the Game

Browsing through this vocabulary of badminton terminology is a useful exercise for players as well as for competition referees.

Learning the titles, common match rulings, and terms used in badminton will also help spectators and fans of sports definitions.

The official badminton rules and regulations is a good place to start for any beginners. Use it to learn more about the basic governance and how the fundamental rulings work.

You can move to the next level by becoming familiar with these badminton keywords. They cover the advanced lingo and sports terms related to the game.

Want to know the best part?

This comprehensive list of badminton’s terms and definitions is still growing. Check in often for more information associated to badminton jargon, playing techniques, and match-winning strategies.

‘In Badminton Terms: LET us say you will LOVE our ACE SERVICE’


A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

So, the question is:

Do you know the difference between the back alley and the baseline? What is an ace? And how does a wood shot differ from a drop shot?

If you want sports lingo, and badminton terminologies with pictures, you are definitely in the right place. Check out this unmatched list of badminton related words and vocabulary definitions.

Badminton Terms beginning with A


In badminton game terms, the phrase ‘ace badminton’ refers to a player winning an outright point from a serve that was untouched – and not returned – by the receiver.

In fact, the actual meaning of ace in badminton originates from the history of Battledore and Shuttlecock when, archaically, it used to mean that any point had been scored.

Air Shot

Playing an air shot refers to a stroke where the player attempts to make a return pass, but completely misses the shuttle.

Similar to the ‘air-ball’ in basketball rules, the miss occurs most often when the player takes their eyes off the shot at that key moment before impact.

Alley (side alley)

The alley is an 18 inch section situated on both sides of the court. The side alley extension marks the area between the singles and doubles sidelines.

Thus, side alley in badminton terms represents the sections between the boundary tramlines used only in doubles play.

Note: Learn more about badminton court size, net height, and tramline markings in a different section.

Angle of Attack

The badminton definition of the phrase ‘angle of attack’ refers to the trajectory of a shuttle after it leaves the racket.

The technique creates a steep angle of attack for the return pass so the downward stroke becomes sharp and fast. It is a key tactic used in attacking shots, such as drop shots and smashes and usually draws the opponent close to the net.

Angle of Return

Different ranges of possible returns from a given position on the court form various angles of return for the shuttle.

Note: Court geometry shows huge variances in the angle of return. For example, around 40 degrees when returning the shuttle from the back corners, to almost 180 degrees close to the net (front and center).

Around-the-head Shot

You should accept this as one of the advanced shots in badminton. A player would reach to the backhand side from around the head to make a forehand strike on the shuttle.

Note: Take care when making this shot. It can leave you off-balanced and vulnerable to a counter attack.

Attacking Clear

The term describes a positive, and somewhat aggressive, stroke. The aim is to hit the shot deep into the challenger’s court area.

In fact, attacking clear is a variation of the traditional clear shot (see below) achieved by driving the bird over the net with a flatter trajectory and with a hard stroke.

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Badminton Terminologies beginning with B

Back Alley (rear alley)

The back alley is a term used for the area situated on both ends of the court. You will see it between the back boundary line and the long service line used in doubles games (see the court diagram below).

Back Boundary Line

There are different terminologies in badminton jargon for court boundary markings. The back boundary line marks the rear ends of the playing area and the service zone used for singles rules games.


Being active in the backcourt area means you are playing in a section around the boundary lines in the back third of the court.

Backhand Stroke

Badminton backhand strokes are usually delicate shots played in front of the body and quite close to the net. For a right-handed player, the stroke used in returning the bird from the left side of the body is a backhand stroke in badminton.

Backhand Grip

There are several terms used to describe the grip on the racket in the terminologies of badminton. One of the most common is the backhand grip. This type of grip on the racket provides a player with an option to strike the shuttle with a backhand stroke.

Balance Point

You would use the bottom of a grip to calculate the center of mass on badminton rackets. So, the racket would be ‘head-heavy’ if the measurement of this number is higher than the norm.

A standard balance point measures around 300mm (for the unstrung racket and specific grip size). Adding string to the racket and grip wrap changes the balance point.

Balk (baulk or feint)

The word ‘balk’ has several different terminologies in badminton such as feinting, swerving, or deceiving.

In simple terms, it refers to deceptive movement meant to deceive or disconcert an opponent. The ‘feint’ tactic often results in a poor return by the opponent.

Base Position

Badminton terminologies include a phrase called the base position, which also has a title of center position.

When you are playing a singles game, your overriding objective is to return each shot to relative safety in the center of the court. This is the location of the base position.


The baseline runs parallel to the net and marks the outer boundary line at the back of each court half.

Basic Strokes

Three different terms in badminton describe the strokes played from either the forehand or the backhand. The names for the three different badminton strokes are:

  • Under-arm
  • Shoulder-high
  • Overhead

The ancient and historical game of ‘Battledore and Shuttlecock‘ was a 16th century recreation whereby the players would hit a ball back and forth to each other. This outdoor activity existed even before the game of badminton became a modern sport.

Bird (birdie)

Bird or birdie is a name commonly used for the shuttlecock as part of the badminton terms and definitions used by the officials and players.

Note: Learn more about the equipment of badminton, footwear, and the accessories in another section.

Bird On

In badminton terminology the cautionary call of ‘bird on’ often occurs if a shuttle lands on your court from an adjacent one. As a rule, a case of ‘bird on’ would result in a let.

Block Return

The badminton term of ‘block return’ describes a shot dropping steeply from a block shot around the net. It usually has very little follow-through because it’s played with a swift flick of the wrist.


The brush is a power-generated point-winning shot played at speed, generally from high above the net.


The butt is the enlarged end of the shaft that prevents the player’s hand from slipping off the handle.

BWF (Badminton World Federation)

The Badminton World Federation is the world governing body for the game. The International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee both recognise the BWF Rule Book.

BWF regulate, promote, develop and popularise the sport globally with world events. The vision of the Badminton World Federation is ‘giving every child a chance to play for life’.

Note: The badminton juniors section explains more about the rules of the game for children and some of the equipment used by small kids.

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Badminton Terminology beginning with C

Carry (sling or throw)

A carry was formerly an illegal stroke and often called a throw or a sling. If you carry the shuttle it means you did not hit it properly but caught and held it on the racket before slinging the execution of the shot.

In the modern game, the codified rules of badminton jargon generally consider a carry to be a legal tactic providing it was clearly a single forward stroke.

Centre Line

The center line separates the two service boxes (left and right service zones). It marks a perpendicular central line from the net to the rear baseline and divides each court half into two sections.

Changing Ends

The players should change ends at the completion of each game and when the leader scores six points (11-point game) or eight points (15-pointer) in the third game.


Clear shots is a term that defines strokes played from the back of a badminton court to the deep rear area of the opponent’s half.

Closed Face

In badminton terms and definitions, a closed face situation refers the racket face when it has a downward pointing position.


The head of the shuttle is traditionally made of cork. When played, the shuttle turns to fly with a cork first trajectory and then remains with a cork-first orientation.

Cork Tip

The cork tip is the rounded base of the shuttlecock which is also made of synthetic materials (e.g. rubber).


The design of a badminton court creates an area of play for use indoors.

It should provide a synthetic or hardwood surface offering good traction with clear and defined outer boundary lines.

In singles badminton games, the court size is 17 x 44 feet and 20 x 44 feet for doubles matches.

Cross-court Shot

A cross-court shot is one that crosses the center line and usually travels along the length of the net (e.g. from one net corner over the net to the other corner).

Cross Strings

The cross strings run perpendicular to the shaft. There are around 21-23 crosses on a badminton racket.

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Badminton Terms that Start with D


The definition of a dab shot in badminton is a crisp downward stroke using minimal backswing, but with excessive follow-through played in the forecourt zone.

You need good body position, with a flexible arm and wrist, to play the shot. Execution of the stroke uses fast action in the fingers but limited finger movement.

Danish Wipe

A ‘Danish Wipe’ shot is a hybrid backhand stroke – a combination of a lob and a drive. It is used to play a lofty shuttle from far ends of the court.

The racket is swept down deep to knee height and then up and under the shuttle and should finish with a strong follow-through.

Dead Bird

Hitting a shuttle out of play is called a ‘dead bird’. You might say it belongs to one of the funny badminton terms and phrases.


Deception is an important part of game tactics by hiding what shots you intend to play, either through very quick motions or misdirection before making contact with the shuttle.


Playing defencively generally means hitting shots upwards and lofty. Defencive play has similarities to the shots played when executing serves in badminton.

Defencive Clear

The defencive clear shot is played high and deep in an attempt to gain more time or to slow down the pace of a rally.


Essentially, diagonal is a term used to describe badminton doubles rules for player positions. Two players divide the court on a diagonal as opposed to right angles (as in front-and-back or side-by-side).

Divorce Area

In badminton terminology, the divorce area refers to a narrow rectangle 8-11 feet from the net. The area is situated between the rear-court and fore-court players and between the sidelines.

The phrase actually originates from mixed gender games when irate husbands would berate their overly enthusiastic wives if they clashed rackets in this particular section of the court.


Doubles matches have two players on each team and on opposing sides (thus, a total of four players on the court). Read more on how badminton doubles rules use the larger-sized (wider) court markings.

Double Hit

The double hit is a shot contacting the receiver’s racket twice, either by one player or by both players. A double hit by two players is always a fault.

The rules surrounding a double hit by a single player are more nuanced. If two strokes are used then the double hit is a fault. If a single stroke is used, then historically a fault was called. But, the shot tends to be a legal stroke in the modern game.

Doubles Sideline

The doubles sideline marker denotes the court inbound width of 20 feet used for doubles matches (i.e. two teams of paired players).

Doubles Service Court

The service court for doubles games is an area measuring 44 x 20 feet. Check how the BWF govern court boundaries for badminton doubles regulation games.

Drive (serve)

Driving the shuttle fast and low, almost horizontal in flight over the net, is called a drive. The drive serve is played as flat as possible (clearing the net) and hit hard to fall at the back of the service court.

Note: Many of the top players use it as a deceptive alternative to playing regular short and long serves.

Drop Serve

The badminton drop serve (similar to toss serve) is played by dropping the shuttle to fall before hitting the serve and used most in forehand service strokes.

Drop Shot

Playing a drop shot in most court games (e.g. tennis rules) refers to one hit softly, with finesse. The aim is to make the shuttlecock fall sharply inside the opponent’s court and as close to the net as possible.

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Badminton Terminologies from E to G


Buying what you need from the list of badminton equipment and accessories is not always a big expense. But, choosing the right gear will definitely enhance your playing experience.

As a rule, the badminton umpiring equipment and clothing is provided by the tournament coordinators and sponsors. Match officials and line judges may need to bring their own gear kit and paraphernalia if not.


Badminton events are the disciplines which players may enter and compete in tournament play. Standard events are men’s/women’s singles, men’s/women’s doubles, and mixed Doubles.

Fast Drop

Fast drop is one of the lesser used badminton terms. It is a variation of a normal drop shot where a player strikes the shuttle harder to give the opponent less time to react.


Faults in badminton are violations of the BWF codified rules and regulations while serving or receiving the shuttle, and during normal play. A player commits a fault in badminton when the shuttle:

  • Lands outside the court or out of bounds.
  • Passes underneath the net or fails to pass over the net.
  • Contacts any side walls or ceiling.
  • Touches a player’s body or their clothing.
  • Is hit two or more times by the same player or by both partners before returning it over the net in a game of doubles.

A fault also occurs if a player strikes the shuttle on the wrong side of the net. Making contact with the net, or either of the posts that support it, by any means is also considered a fault.

Feather Shuttle (feathers or crown)

A feather shuttle is one with a skirt comprised of bird feathers (e.g. duck or goose feathers) or synthetic materials. Sixteen individual feathers are attached to the skirt of the shuttlecock tip to stabilize it and to make it aerodynamic.


A feint is also called a balk. It is any deceptive move that fools or dummies an opponent disconcertingly before or during the serve.

First Serve (first hand)

A rule change to rally scoring occurred in 2006. It altered doubles play team members to carry out the service in succession.


Surprising your opponent by using a flick describes a quick wrist-and-forearm rotation technique. The flick deceptively changes an apparent soft shot into a much faster, and often a winning, passing shot.

Flick Serve

A flick serve is an advanced service shot taken from the backhand position and arched over the opponent toward the long-service line. This shot requires a developed forearm and wrist to generate the power and quickness to catch the receiver off guard.


The difficulty or skill level of an event in a tournament is usually designated by the letters A, B, C and D. Flight A would be the most advanced level.

Flight Path

The badminton expression of ‘flight path’ refers to the trajectory taken by a shuttle after the stroke. The shuttle’s flight path is seen by many as a distinguishing trademark between cheap plastic shuttles and a professional feathered shuttlecock.


Follow-through describes the path of the racket following its contact with the shuttle. It is an important technique of producing controlled strokes and predictable shots.

Foot Fault

A foot fault is a service fault made by a player in which he or she oversteps the boundary of the service court.


When you have mastered good footwork in badminton it means you will reach the shuttlecock early in the fastest time and using the shortest distance.

Footwork is a principle reason why professionals have less injuries and make badminton look effortless and graceful.

Forecourt (front court)

The forecourt area is the front third of the court. It is the region between the short service line and the net.

Forehand Strokes

For a right-handed player, the stroke used in returning the bird from the right side of the body is called a forehand stroke in badminton.

Forward Swing

The forward swing is a term referring to the racket movement towards the shuttle.


Frame refers to the racket frame to which the stringing is attached.

Free Point

Losing a point on a serve, with no actual effort made by the opposer, is termed ‘giving away a free point’. Free points are similar to unforced errors in the rules of tennis and should be kept to a minimum.

Front and Back

In badminton expressions, ‘front and back’ is a doubles game player position whereby one partner is in front of the other and close to the middle line, as a rule.

Frying Pan Grip

It is a quirky badminton term defining a racket grip rotated 90 degrees from the traditional hand position. The head is parallel to the net in a frying pan grip with the front of the racket facing the net.


A game is part of an incomplete set. Typically it occurs when one player or doubles team has amassed enough points to win a single contest – but not necessarily the whole match.

Game Point

Either the word ‘game’ or the word ‘point’ should be announced when serving for a game-winning point (out of courtesy). Game point refers to the situation where one player can win the game if they win the current rally.

Game (set)

It is a 21-point series with a required two-point margin of victory. If a game goes past 21 points it ends when one team either goes up by two points or reaches 30.


Graphite is in fact an allotrope of pure carbon. Manufacturers use graphite in the construction of most modern badminton rackets because it is generally lightweight and strong.

Note: There are some similarities in the construction of rackets used in squash rules and regulations.


The grip is a badminton term for the material covering the handle of a racket. It is used to create better comfort and control.


Gut fibers, gathered from intestinal parts of sheep and cows, were used before it became acceptable to use synthetic strings.

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Badminton Glossary from H to J

Hairpin Net Shot

As the name may suggest, a hairpin net shot resembles the shape of a hairpin. It is made from below and very close to the net. The hairpin shot would send the shuttle rising sharply near to the net and then drops abruptly downwards on the other side.

Half-court Shot

A half-court shot is mostly effective in the doubles game. The shot is hit low towards the midcourt area.

Hammer Grip

Hammer grip is another one of those quirky badminton expressions describing the way some beginners grab the racket over tightly (like gripping a hammer).


The handle refers to the end portion of a racket (opposite the head) and it is the part where a player takes hold. It is the part of the shaft that the player grips to control the racket.

Head (face)

The head is a part of badminton equipment relating to the racket. It is the main oval face portion of the racket that combines the frame with stringing and attaches to the shaft.


The word ‘help’ is one of the badminton terms rarely heard in professional tournaments. It is more often used in badminton doubles rules where one partner shouts ‘help’ if they are in trouble and need their partner to make the next shot.

High Clear

The high clear is a variation of a normal clear shot that arches high toward the opponent’s baseline. This shot is intended to allow a team or player to reset defensively (or to disrupt the opponent’s timing).


The high-lift is also called the high clear. The phrase refers to a defensive shot hit high and extremely deep into the challenger’s back court area.

History of Badminton

The history of the badminton game originated as ‘battledore and shuttlecock’ in Greece and mainland Asia from the period of ancient civilization around 2,000 years ago.

Holding a Shot

This technique is often used to delay hitting the shot deliberately to observe the opponent’s preparation or reaction.

Hybrid Stringing

Hybrid stringing is one of the less common terminologies in badminton. It refers to having a racket made with two different types of string used for the mains and crosses.


In England badminton game terms the shuttlecock is in-play unless:

  • It hits the floor or goes outside the court markings.
  • It contacts the ceiling or a player’s body.
  • It gets stuck in the net or fails to drop.
  • It hits post or the net and finishes on the same side as the hitter.

Note: Check out our Pinterest badminton section displaying some great images about the sport, players, and equipment.

Interval (time break)

An interval refers to either the 60-second period of rest that occurs when the score reaches 11 for the first time in a game or the 120 second break between games. Players are permitted to leave the court during this time.

Jump Smash

The badminton jump smash is accepted as the most powerful shot in the game and performed in mid-air. Players use the jump smash instead of the normal smash because of its steeper angle and higher level of power.

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Badminton Terms and Definitions from K to M


The kill is a fast, downward shot that cannot easily be returned to your court and usually ends a rally.

Left Service Court

The left service court box marks the boundary to the left side of each player when facing the net.

Length of Play

Normal play is continuous (e.g. series of rallies) until a player or a team wins the game. The international rules of professional badminton matches usually allow five minutes rest period between games two and three.


A ‘let’ is a legitimate call which halts normal play and allows a rally to be replayed. ‘Lets’ occur when:

  • The shuttle fails to drop from the net.
  • A player contacts the net or post with his body or racket.
  • A player obstructs their opponent’s stroke or serves.
  • A shuttle lands on your court from adjacent court (e.g. bird on).
  • There is a ceiling obstruction interference.
  • There are any unsighted line calls.

A lift is a variation of a clear shot produced by an underhand stroke. The pass, arched high into the air, allows time for better defensive positioning.

Line Judge (linesman)

A line judge, in terminologies related to badminton, is a pre-approved, unbiased individual responsible for determining whether or not shots land inside of the court boundaries.

A linesman is one of ten (10) officials who ensure the shuttlecock remains inside the lines of play.

Note: One of the roles of line judges in badminton is informing the umpire when a player commits this kind of fault.

Locked Wrist

Having a locked wrist is a badminton expression for players with an inflexible wrist. This often results in the racket handle held parallel with the forearm – or sometimes pointing downward.

Long Serve

Playing a long serve is one which typically is a high lofty shot that lands close to the back line.

Long Service Line

Serves take place from the long service line and it marks the back of the service zone in doubles matches.

The long service lines should measure 21 feet back from the net for a singles match and two feet closer for doubles.

Love (luv)

Love is a term used to denote zero scores in badminton terminology (similar to the rules of tennis games). Each competitor begins at zero (love-all) and remains at love until they score points.

Luck of the Net Cord

A ‘Net Cord’ would be legal during regular play providing the shuttle passes over the net and to the side of your opponent.

So, while smashing the shuttle it hits the top of the net en-route, but falls over to the opponent’s side. You would win the rally by ‘luck of the Net Cord’ if your opponent failed to return the shuttle.


Lunge refers to a vital part of footwork when a player stretches out a leg ‘racket-side’ while striking the shuttle.


The ‘mains’ are badminton terms for the racket strings that run parallel to the shaft. As a rule, almost all modern rackets will have a total of 22 mains.


White or yellow 40 mm wide court markings section off the different zones of the badminton playing area.


Simply put, a match refers to a series of badminton games to determine the outcome and a clear winner.

Match (point)

Out of courtesy, either of the words (match or point) should be announced when you serve for a match-winning point.

Men’s Doubles

In badminton terminology, men’s doubles is a match comprised of two teams with two male players on each team.

Midcourt (home)

The midcourt term designates the optimal home position of the middle third of the court. It is halfway between the back boundary line and the center of the net.

Mixed Doubles

Mixed doubles games are matches comprised of two teams with one male and one female player on each team.

Note: Level doubles is a game where two paired players are of the same gender.

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Badminton Key Terms from N to P


Players hit a feathery shuttlecock over a net. Nets are loosely stitched dividers, stretched across the middle of the court at a height of 5 feet. England badminton nets must stretch across the center of the court between two posts.

The official net height measures 2.5 feet deep and the top of a badminton net is five feet high or 1.524 meters from the floor.

Net Cord

The situation described as the Net Cord rule is a common occurrence in the badminton service game. It happens if the shuttlecock hits the uppermost part of the net (white tape) and then drops, or tumbles, to one side of the court.

In simple terms “a bird which touches the top of the net and falls in the proper side of the court.”

A serve is good providing the shuttlecock drops to the opponent’s side of the court and inside the service boundaries, after a Net Cord. Thus, your opponent would need to attempt a return stroke and you would win the rally if they fail to do so.

Note: If the shuttlecock falls ‘short’ after hitting the net and fails to reach the service line during a ‘low service’ you would lose the rally.

Net Drop

A net drop is a basic badminton net shot where a player simultaneously receives a drop shot and then returns one back.

Net Fault

Net fault is one of the common terminologies in badminton. It occurs if any player touches the net with the body, the racket, or any of their apparel during play.

Net Return

A net return shot is one that creeps over the net and drops abruptly to the ground on the other side.

Offence (attack)

Playing offensive shots are those generally hit downward and the team on the offense is the one hitting downward.

One-piece Racket

A one-piece badminton racket is constructed with a single and continuous piece of material. Multiple piece rackets would have separate head, shaft, t-joint, and grip joined together at a later stage.

Note: Learn more about the equipment and gear of badminton needed to meet the BWF guidelines.

On-guard Stance

The badminton phrase refers to the alert position being taken by a player in readiness of the bird being hit by the opponent.

Open Face Racket

Open face racket is one of the common terminologies used in badminton and it refers to the way a racket faces upwards.

Overhand Shot

The overhand shot is taken with a downward arm and wrist motion.

Overhead Shots

Playing the racket into the shuttle above a player’s head is better known as an overhead shot.

Overhead Smash

The overhead smash is an aggressive powerful shot played steeply downwards usually from high in the air.


The pace of a game simply refers to the speed of a shot or rally.

Panhandle Grip

Panhandle grip is a variation of the natural grip. The palm faces the fat part of the handle as the thumb and fingers grasp the thinner sides.

The panhandle grip is normally used for drive shots and allows greater range with forehand drives.

Passing Shot

In badminton terms, a ‘passing shot’ is one that passes or travels passed the opposing player or team.


Patty-cakes is a term describing the way some beginners stand (relatively immobile trading half-paced drives until one misses).

Plastic Shuttle

It is an inexpensive type of shuttle with a skirt made of plastic instead of feathers and cork.


The word placement, when used in badminton lingo, refers to the location where a shuttle is aimed to land on the court.


Poaching in court games generally refers to the action of taking shots which would normally be returned by your partner, such as in doubles badminton rules.

It is often done either through over-enthusiasm, greed, or lack of confidence in your partner’s ability.


A pop-up shot is one played slowly with a high lift to the forecourt zone.

Position of Readiness

The position of readiness is usually towards the middle of the court. It means that each player is prepared to play the next shot quickly or respond with a return pass.


The post is a vertical bar used to stretch out the net across the middle of the court by means of white tape.


The history of badminton game shows a press was used to stop the head warping from moisture during a time when racket heads were made of wood or bamboo.

Rackets were kept in a press usually consisting of two wooden trapezoidal frames held together with bolts and thumb-nuts to help prevent this from happening.


Pre-stretching means pulling the racket string to tension it and then letting it relax before starting to string.

Push Shot

The push shot is a gently played shot created by pushing the shuttlecock with a little extra wrist motion than normal.

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Badminton Jargon from Q to S


If you want a qualification, Badminton England currently offers the UKCC endorsed Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 Certificates in Coaching Badminton.

Racket (racquet)

What are the badminton game terms for the different parts of the racket?

The large stringed area with a frame is called the head which is connected to the handle by the shaft.

You should choose the best badminton racket for your game based on the string tension, its weight, flexibility, balance, and the size of the hand grip.

The racket used to strike the shuttlecock is lighter and narrower than a tennis racket (about 3 oz.) and the head measures about 9 inches long and 11 inches wide.

Note: Get more info in the badminton equipment name list section.

Racket Foot

The term ‘racket foot’ refers to the strongest playing foot. In most cases, it will be the right foot for a right handed player and the left foot for a left hander.


In terminologies of badminton, a rally is a series of passes and exchanged shots which begin with a serve. As a rule, rallies in badminton finish when the point is won.


Rally-scoring is sports lingo that refers to the manner of scoring in which a point is awarded for every rally.

Receiver (receiving side)

The receiver is the player who receives the shuttlecock put into play by the server. So, receivers will return the opening stroke made by the server, both in singles and doubles games.


Rotation is the movement or interaction which allows doubles partners to attack or defend effectively as a team.

Rough Side

In badminton equipment terms, the ‘rough side’ refers to the side containing the trim loops of the racket – that being opposite to the smooth side.

Round-the-head Shot

A round-the-head shot is a funny badminton phrase referring to an overhead shot played with a forehand swing, but on the backhand side.

Rush a Serve

Rushing a serve describes very quick movement forward when receiving a low serve. The aim of which is to move to the net fast enough to attack the serve.


The health and safety regulations in badminton help you to avoid, or limit, the most common injuries and accidental mishaps which players may suffer while playing shuttlecock.


In terminologies related to badminton a scorekeeper is a pre-approved, unbiased individual responsible for scoring a match.


Women’s badminton games are usually scored up to 11. Games tied at 9-9 or 10-10 usually move into a ‘love-all’ set situation, where the winner is the first player to win the next two or three points.

Men’s singles and doubles competitions usually play to 15. Only a serving player or team in women’s and men’s badminton scores a point. The best of three games decide the match winner.


The server starts the rally by hitting the shuttlecock over the net to the court area of their opponent. The server and the receiver stand diagonally opposite each other as the shuttlecock is served into play.

Service (right to serve)

The service is the initial stroke which starts play when the receiver is stationary and begins a rally. So, the badminton serve is taken from the left-hand side of the court for odd points (e.g. 1, 3, 5,) and the right-hand side for even points.

The non-server is allowed to stand anywhere on their side of the net during a doubles game. The server must strike the base of the shuttle first, contacting it below the server’s waist as a continuous motion.

Service Court

The service court is the area into which you must deliver the shuttle during the service. In fact, the zone is different for singles than in doubles games.

Service Fault

A service fault is any violation or illegal tactic that occurs during service – for either team or player.

Service Judge

A badminton service judge is a pre-approved, unbiased individual responsible for calling service faults.

Service judges are the officials who monitor the execution of the serve, player position, and the arrival of the shuttlecock to the appropriate zone.


The meaning of setting in badminton is to extend a game by a set number of points beyond the normal finish.


The shaft is the elongated part of the racket that ends at the beginning of the head (see racket).

Short Service Line

The short service is the front boundary line of the singles and doubles service zones and measures six feet or 1.98 meters from the net on both sides of the court. It denotes the area beyond which all serves must land.


CLEAR, DRIVE, DROP, SMASH‘ are four shot terms related to badminton. Learn these 4 shot techniques and discover why and when beginners should use these top offensive and defensive strokes.

As a rule, all shots played in badminton are termed as offensive or defensive strokes and we explain the methodology behind four of the most popular.

Shoulder-high Shots

When the racket hits the shuttle above the player’s shoulder and usually to the side it is called a shoulder-high shot.

Shuffle (skip)

The shuffle is a primary part of your footwork technique which occurs when you slide your feet to move around the court.

Shuttlecock (shuttle)

Badminton terminology has the name ‘shuttlecock’ used to describe the ‘bird or birdie’.

It refers to the projectile of a feathered (14 to 16 feathers) cork object sent back and forth over the net in competitions.

Shuttlecocks are made of 16 real or synthetic feathers attached to a cork base. Different weights of shuttlecocks determine their flight and speed through the air.

Note: Check out the badminton equipment name list section for more detailed information on equipment and accessories.


Side-by-side refers to the defensive doubles position where both players are at midcourt and on either side of the center line.


A game of badminton where one individual plays against one other player. The rules of badminton singles have some significant differences to those used in the doubles game.

Singles Sideline

The singles sideline is a line marking the in-bound court width playing area of 17 feet for singles games (a game between two players).

Singles Service Court

The service court for doubles games is an area that measures 44 x 17 feet.


The skirt is the part of the shuttle that is either plastic or feather and fans out like a lady’s skirt.


A slice is one of the common terminologies used in badminton. It refers to the curved flight of the shuttle created by striking it with an angled face of the racket during contact.

Smash (kill shot)

A smash is an overhead kill shot, hit so hard that it forces the shuttle to drop sharply downwards into the opponent’s court. The smash or kill shot is a decisive power move and seen as an aggressive tactic during play.


The stab is a shot intended to drop the shuttle steeply and tight to the net on the side of your opponent.


A stance is the position of your body and feet while you are waiting for the opponent to hit or return the shuttlecock.

Starting the Match

The player who starts the match is decided by a coin toss (or a spin of a racket). The winner chooses between serving and receiving first.

Straight Games

The meaning of a straight game is winning in consecutive games with no games lost during a match.


Strings are the thin, synthetic pieces of material weaved through the frame and used to propel the shuttle through the air with force.


The stringing is a badminton term referring to the surface of interlaced strings of synthetic or natural fiber used to strike a shuttlecock.


In simple badminton terms, a stroke is the movement of a racket with the intention of hitting the shuttle.

Sweet Spot

The sweet spot of a badminton racket is the center section of the stringing where the response is uniform and hence offers maximum playability.

Synthetic (shuttle)

A synthetic shuttle is a small plastic cone that is sturdier than the feathered shuttlecock and is usually used for training. As a rule it weighs about 0.2 ounces (same as a feathered shuttlecock).

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Badminton Technical Terms from T to Z


The tape refers to a three-inch solid strip running along the top of the net. According to BWF badminton rules, the tape is usually white to provide a highly visible reference.


Racket tension describes the force used to pull on the strings while stringing a racket.

Test Mark

These are two small marks on a court indicating the range into which a proper speed shuttle will land during testing.

Throat (t-joint)

The section of the racquet that connects the head to the shaft is termed the throat (or T-joint). Some older, lower-end models typically have a visibly separate t-joint, while newer higher-end models, will incorporate it into the racket itself.

Tipping the Shuttle

Tipping means adjusting the speed of a shuttlecock, achieved by bending the tips of the feathers.


The T-junction refers to the intersection of the center line and the short service line. It is typically used as a reference point for short serves and as a base for net play.

Top Slice and Tumble

Similar to tennis regulations, the top slice and the tumble aim to drive the shuttle looping downward and tight to the net.

Toss a Coin

Players usually toss a coin to determine who will serve first or from which side of the net.

Toss Serve

A toss serve occurs when the server throws the shuttle up (or to the side) and lets it fall before hitting it.


Tramline refers mostly to the boundary lines themselves or to the Alleys (side tramline and rear tramline).

Tumble Drop Shot

A tumble drop shot is a variation of a normal drop shot that causes the shuttle to flip, end over end.


The umpire is one of the badminton officials responsible for applying the basic badminton regulations. The role includes ensuring that the match runs smoothly and ruling on contentious decisions.

Note: A service judge and line judge may also assist a badminton umpire during a competitive match.


The underhand technique refers to any shot taken with an upward arm and wrist motion.

Up (go up)

Go Up is often a call made between doubles partners indicating that one partner would like the other to move to the forecourt. In most cases, it will result in a front-and-back position.


We chose to include a popular YouTube video to the complete list of the sports lingo in badminton.

Note: Watch fifty two seconds of badminton video footage that includes some amazing competitive doubles play.


The shuttle must be served from below the waist. But, the height of the elbow (when standing upright) is more visible than the waist and remarkably close to the codified rules and regulations of badminton.


Walls is a term used to define a minimum distance from the baseline perimeter to the nearest surrounding wall. Regular badminton match wall distance is five feet from the baseline and four feet from the sideline.

Competitive international badminton matches extend the distance of the closest wall to 7.5 feet from the baseline and 7.2 feet from the sideline.

White Tape

White tape refers to a strip of tape with a cord passing through it. The tape is attached to the posts for the purpose of suspending the badminton net.

Wood Shot

When the shuttle hits the frame of the racket legally (instead of the strings) it is called a wood shot.

World Junior Championship

The BWF World Junior Championships are also called the World Junior Badminton Championships. The Badminton World Federation organises the annual tournament for junior badminton players under-19 years.

Xbox 360 Game

In shuttle badminton vocabulary Xbox 360 is a PlayStation video game.


Yonex is a badminton racket manufacturer which achieves precise control and function by creating ultra-lightweight strong and stable racquets.

For Example: Check out the Yonex unisex adult B4000 badminton racket. The standard model is light for easy handling, has an aluminium shaft, and available with various grip sizes.


OK… so we admit that it wasn’t easy to find a letter ‘z badminton term’. But, the Inter Zonal Badminton Championships occur between some regions for competitive tournaments.

Note: The badminton terminology PDF version is available by email. Please contact our sports team for further information.

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Badminton Terms and Definitions: A-Z Terminologies used by Players and Officials