Lexicon of Tiddlywinks

Thirteenth Edition, August 2015 … © 1994-2015 Rick Tucker. All Rights Reserved.


Winks has a vocabulary and subculture all its own. For instance, you might overhear at a tournament: “I can’t pot my nurdled wink, so I’ll piddle you free and you can boondock a red. But if Sunshine gromps the double, I’ll lunch a blue next time.” In English this translates to “My wink is too close to the cup to pot it, so instead, I’ll gently shoot you out from under the pile and you can shoot an opponent’s red wink off the table. But if Sunshine (a winker) captures two of our winks with only one of his, I’ll pot an opponent’s blue wink (sometimes a useful strategy) on my next turn.” (Courtesy Larry Kahn)

The Lexicon of Tiddlywinks, compiled by Rick Tucker since 1994, documents the words of winkdom from its invention in 1888 to the formation of the Cambridge University Tiddlywinks Club in 1955 to the 1958 match between Cambridge University and the Goons radio troupe, to the 1962 Oxford tour of the USA sponsored by Guinness, to the MITTwA invasion of England in 1972, and to the present day.

Also check out tiddlywinks as it is known in many other languages.

Many thanks to those who have contributed to the lexicon, including Charles Relle, Matt Fayers, Richard Moore, Jon Mapley, and Fred Shapiro. Many thanks also to CUTwC for the winks terminology provided at http://www.cutwc.org/Social/Traditions/.

This edition includes exemplary citations for some entries, in much the same manner as in the Oxford English Dictionary. However, I need your help! I would greatly appreciate your uninhibited comments on the definitions, your suggestions for additions and improvements, etc. I particularly need help in identifying Briticisms vs. Americanisms. Even though I have copyrighted this, I am permitting members of NATwA and ETwA to reproduce it for free distribution.


1 * · n Sunshine, nickname of NATwA winker, David Sheinson

  • 1977 Cornell Alumni News July. Page 25. His opponent, known in winkdom mysteriously by the single appellation “Sunshine” had won his right to challenge by taking the North American title.

2 * · asterisk, the symbol for a potout on a scoresheet


11 Khartoum Road (UK) · n an ETwA team


AGM (UK) · n abbreviation for Annual General Meeting of ETwA

agt (rare/obscure) = abbreviation for alt.games.tiddlywinks, the Usenet group for tiddlywinks postings

air shot · n a shot in which the squidger is held in the air above the wink to be shot rather than resting on it. Were the squidger to rest on the wink before shooting, the winks in the pile below the shot wink are likely to move unintentionally, thereby constituting a shot.

Alleghany Airlines Book Club Presents (US) · n a publication by NATwA winker Sunshine in February 1976 describing tiddlywinks perversions. [Name derived from Allegheny (note “e” rather than “a”) Airlines, an airline company (which became USAir and is now US Airways).]

Alliance (US) · n a NATwA team of the 1980s

alt.games.tiddlywinks · n name of the original Usenet newsgroup for tiddlywinks on the Internet

Altrinham coffin (UK, now obscure) · n the area near the pot where winks are very likely to be squopped. [Coined at Altrincham Grammar School in the north of England in the early 1960s.]

amigos (UK, now obscure) /ah-MEE-goss/ · n  the act of swallowing a pint of a drink in one gulp. [CUTwC, 1980s] See also sideways amigos

approach shot · n a shot with the objective of placing a wink at a particular position on the mat, sometimes near a target pile or the pot, without an intent to squop

  • 1958 Sports Illustrated 7 April. Page M6. Two strokes more readily mastered are the approach shot and the short putt.

area · n part of the mat dominated by the winks of, or containing squops or piles chiefly controlled by one color or partnership, into which an opponent is usually reluctant to venture

A.R.W. · n abbreviation for Association of Retired Winkers [Originated by NATwA winker Carl Chenkin in the mid-1970s]

autoboondock = (US) 2boondock

autosquop (UK) = sub (Cohen, 1977)


B Team· n a winking team at a tier below the experience and performance of the primary, or A, team for a club or university. Compare also C Team, a tier below the B Team.

  • 1974 The Missing Wink August. Severin Drix. Page 6. There were no B-teams, and winks activity mainly centered around “club play[“], rather than at matches.

backstop · n a wink, pile, or the pot that is hit by a wink with the intention of slowing or stopping the motion of the wink being shot

Bancroft School (UK) · n an ETwA pre-collegiate team in the early 1960s

baseline · n a line near each corner of the mat behind which winks are placed at the beginning of a game. This line is perpendicular to the diagonal of the mat and is three feet from the center of the mat.

baseline squop (UK) · n shooting a wink from behind the baseline in the corner of the mat and squopping a wink in play

  • 2008 Winking World 90. Andrew Garrard. Page 34. I was particularly smug about a baseline squop onto a wink of Alan’s – on the far side of the pot

baseline pot (UK) · n a tiddlywinks perversion where squopping the opponent is not allowed. If squopping happens accidentally, the winks are desquopped. = (US) potting game

Beady (UK) · n onetime nickname of ETwA winker Geoff Myers

beaker (rare, obsolete) = n pot. (used by ETwA’s Hull Guildhall team in 1962)

Betty’s Boys (UK) · n a team formed by Stew Sage and Richard Moore, first appearing in the ETwA Teams of Four in 1988 (earlier known as “Sideways Amigos“, q.v.)

Biden (UK, obscure) · n a tournament format in which winkers in one division play against winkers in another division [Named after Julian Biden, ETwA winker; also associated with Vice President Joe Biden in contrast with Vice Presidential candidate, Sarah Palin]

  • 2008 Winking World 90. Matt Fayers. Page 48. But here’s the thing: with the Biden/bailout format, we have a direct comparison of the strengths of the two leagues, because one league has played against the other.

big (US) · n a large wink

Big Mama (US) · n a large, two-inch wide, thick PVC squidger used by Larry Kahn

Big Six (US) · n the six major championships: NATwA Singles, NATwA Pairs, ETwA Singles, ETwA Pairs, World Singles, World Pairs  (prior to ScotTwA’s arrival on the scene with the Scottish Pairs in the early 1990s.)

birthday present (US) · n an opponent play that results in an unexpectedly easy shot for a gain.

  • 1977 Verbatim Dec. Philip Michael Cohen. Page 4. birthday or Christmas present—an unexpected stroke of good fortune, such as a bad shot by an opponent.

BIT (US) · n NATwA’s Boston Invitational Tournament, or generically, a tournament with a varying format, e.g., a BIT-like tournament. BITs were held from 1970 to 1987.

blitz · n an attempt to pot out early in a game and when opponent winks are not under control. Also vi.

  • 1974 The Missing Wink August. Page 1. The multitudes who jammed the MIT student center were treated to a potpourri of winks action which included blitzes, a tie, game-winning three foot pots and everyone’s favorite, long, drawn-out rounds.
  • 1977 Cornell Alumni News July. Page 25. He quickly set up a solid defensive zone and established the very real threat than he would “blitz”—pot out one of his colors early in the game.

blowup · n a shot, usually forceful, that separates winks in a pile. Also blow vt

  • Winking World 54. Andy Purvis. This game looked interesting for a while, as we managed to collect five of Nick’s reds into a pile, but Nick blew the pile nicely, and wasn’t in much trouble from then on.

blunt (US) (rare) · adj describing a round-edged squidger such as those that were provided in sets made by Marchant Games. Contrast with sharp squidger. [Originator:  Daniel Sachs at 1994 Individual Pairs, Wheaton, Maryland.]

board (Relle) · table or mat [“off the ~”]

Bob-rookie strategy (US) · n a strategy of focusing solely on squopping the better player of an opponent partnership, while ignoring the weaker player, usually applied when the difference in skill is great. [Named after Bob Henninge, who often played with novice winkers.]

Bobbin’ Bull (US) · n onetime nickname of MIT winking partners Bob Henninge and Ferd Wulkan (known as Ferdinand the Bull)

bomb · n a shot in which a wink is shot toward a target pile, usually from a distance, with the objective of knocking one or more winks out of the pile. Also vt.

  • 1962 Life 14 Dec. Page 122. Stephen Goldberg (above) of Brown aims a “squidge” or “long bomb.”
  • Winking World 54. Andy Purvis. Nearly squopped up, Richard attempted to save the day with an over-the-pot bomb, but the Seventh Cavalry charged straight into the pot by mistake.

Bombay Bowl (UK) · a tournament involving the four “home unions” in Britain (England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland) that has now lapsed [Started 1 May 1960; name was a play on “Calcutta Cup“, an England-Scotland Rugby Football match]

Bonham recording system (rare) · n a method for transcribing the shots and results of a tiddlywinks game (Winking World 5; ETwA E2, 1964)

boon (US) =1boondock [a clipped form of boondock]

1boondock · n a shot in which a squopped wink is freed and comes to rest far from the center of action in a game, or is sent off the mat. Also vt. [circa 1971, US]

  • 1977 Verbatim Dec. Philip Michael Cohen. Page 4. boondock—to shoot (a wink) far from the scene of action or off the mat. Incidentally, winkers who graduate & move away from the centers of activity are said to be ‘boondocked.’

2boondock· n a perversion (variant of tiddlywinks) in which the goal is to pot all of a color’s winks, and when a wink is squopped, it is returned to its baseline. See Alleghany Airlines Book Club Presents for the rules.

boondock and squop · n a shot that produces two results: a wink is boondocked, and the shooting wink comes to rest on another wink, squopping it. = John Lennon Memorial Shot

boondocked · adj said of a winker who lives or has traveled far from locations where tiddlywinks is avidly played

  • 1974 The Missing Wink August. Page 7. True, few players leave NATwA unless they are boondocked (and even some of them return for a few matches)

bounce-in · n a wink that bounces on the mat before entering the pot.

bounce out · vi to shoot a wink that enters the pot, hits the interior of the pot or a wink inside the pot, and comes out of the pot. Also n. (Winking World 1, page 4)

  • Winking World 54. Andy Purvis. This time the wink bounced out of the pot.

brace (Relle) vt = bridge. [First used by John Furlonger, 1961 or before] n (Relle) two winks close together that can easily be squopped

bridge · vt to shoot a wink to squop two winks, neither of which are squopping the other. n a pile in which two winks are bridged. (Edwards, in Partridge, 1984)

bring-in · n a squidge-in or an approach shot from a distance.

Bristol (also bristol) n ·  a gromp shot in which the face of the squidger is held perpendicular to the wink being played, and roughly parallel to the intended direction of the shot. Also vt. [from University of Bristol in England, where the shot originated.]

  • 1977 Verbatim Dec. Philip Michael Cohen. Page 4.
    Bristol–an effective gromp (q.v.), developed at Bristol U., in which the squidger is held perpendicular to the pile and parallel to the line of the flight..

Bristol Good (also bristol good) · n a shot in which the squidger is held as for a bristol, with an intended trajectory as in a Good shot. = (UK) Cambridge Good

bristollable (US) · adj a pile or squop in which the winks are positioned suitably for a bristol shot

brunch (UK) · n, vi, vt to inadvertently pot when trying to go over the pot. [The term was invented by ETwA winker Paul Moss as part of a competition in Winking World; related to lunch.]

bucket (UK) = n pot

butt · n a shot where a wink hits the edge of a target wink, usually with the objective of knocking the target wink off a pile. Also vt.

  • 1977 Verbatim Dec. Philip Michael Cohen. Page 4. butt—to knock (a wink) on or off a pile by shooting another wink at it on a low trajectory.

butt under · vt a shot, sometimes intentional, which instead of squopping the target wink nudges it under an existing pile

BYOTT (US)· adj Bring Your Own Table Tournament, a NATwA tournament held in 1972


calypso (UK) · n, v a shot (usually a squop) that involves (deliberately or not) bouncing off the side of the pot onto the target wink

Cambridge blue · n a pale turquoise (also known as duck-egg green’ colored wink or squidger that came in tiddlywinks sets from Marchant Games in the late 1960s; this color was used instead of blue, which was missing from these sets.

Cambridge Good (UK) = Bristol Good

Cambridge Open · n an ETwA tournament, similar to an Individual Pairs but not so systematic; partners and opponents are drawn completely randomly each round. The winker with the highest ppg is the winner.

Canadian Pairs · n a NATwA pairs tournament held in Canada in 1973 and 1974

Cannonball · n onetime nickname of Bill Renke in the early 1970s.

  • 1978 Newswink 8, 12 May. In the Long Time No See Department, Bill “Cannonball” Renke played his first tournament game without a partner since winning the triple crown in 1973, due to his team having only five warm bodies capable of holding a squidger.

carno (also C-) (US) · n = Carnovsky [a clipped form of carnovsky]

Carnovsky (also carnovsky) · vi, vt to pot a wink from a corner, usually a squidge-in of an unplayed wink from the baseline. n a shot in which a wink was Carnovskied. [named after Steve Carnovsky, Harvard player in 1962, popularized in Life magazine.] = (UK) Penhaligon

  • 1962 Life 14 Dec. Page 122. They perfected the crowd-pleasing “Carnovsky,” named after Steve Carnovsky, varsity candidate who sank four table-length shots in a row during fall practice.

Carpenter’s Fan Club (UK) · the team name used by WETS when competing in the ETwA Teams of Four; 1989-90 holders of the trophy

carve out (UK) = piddle

Catford Invitation · an exclusive invitational tournament held at the home of Charles Relle. These winking events raised money for charity

Chickens Courageous · n a NATwA team formed from the TKOs, led by Sunshine

Chickenhearts · n a NATwA team combining the Chickens Courageous and Hearts of Oak (Coeurs de Chêne) teams

  • 1978 Newswink 8, 12 May. The match was not a close one, with newly merged Chicken Hearts, veritably bursting under the constriction of the six-player team format, out-distancing the Zoo, forebodingly under-personed, and hapless MIT, feeling the absence of Nigeria-bound team captain Charles and as yet still boondocked Fred.
  • 1979 Harvard Magazine May-June. Competing were school teams from M.I.T., Cornell, Harvard, Boston University, and Ithaca High School, and various club teams, such as the Renaissance team, the Zoo team, and the Chickenhearts.

chip (UK) = piddle

  • 2008. Winking World 90. Alan Dean. Page 18. with green I had chipped a blue onto another blue ready for yellow to mop up; Larry then chipped a red onto these blues, and yellow gratefully squopped.

Christmas pile · n a pile consisting of only green and red winks

Christmas present = birthday present

  • 1977 Verbatim Dec. Philip Michael Cohen. Page 4. birthday or Christmas present—an unexpected stroke of good fortune, such as a bad shot by an opponent.

Chrome Toads · n a NATwA team with winkers from southeastern Ohio, also called Xenopus

circular squop (US; obsolete in UK) · n  a pile in which all winks are squopped; sometimes, a pile of two winks with this property. In the UK, known as Thorpe’s ring

click off · n a shot in which a wink is removed from squopping another wink, where the squidger stroke stops abruptly by clicking on this other wink. Also vt.

  • 1977 Verbatim Dec. Philip Michael Cohen. Page 4. click off—to remove a wink from another with a shot that ends by just touching (clicking against) the wink below, not moving it.

click shot · n a shot played on a wink that is squopping another wink. The squidger’s stroke on the played wink stops abruptly on this other wink, causing a sharp click sound. The other wink typically is intended to be left unmoved by this shot.

climb up (US) · vi to shoot a wink that bounces off the exterior side of the pot on its trajectory that leads into the pot.

Closet of Fame (US) · n a repository of tiddlywinks memorabilia in Bill Renke‘s house.

  • 1971 Newswink 4, April. Sender Herschorn. Sonny Terry (of Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee)’s favourite expression is, “Got you covered, man, got you covered.” Does this rate him special mention in the NATwA Closet of Fame?
  • 1977 Cornell Alumni News July. Page 26. Drix‘s mat, the oldest regulation mat still in use in North America, will be inducted with honors into the Closet of Fame later in the year.

1color order· n the prescribed official order of play of winks during a game: the cycle blue, green, red, and yellow (the alphabetical order of the colors in the English language)

2color order · n the tactical recognition of the importance of dealing with one color rather than another because of the ramifications of the order in which those colors play

color preference · n the desire of a partnership to play the winks of one color partnership (typically red and blue) rather than the other; a query made prior to the commencement of a game to determine whether a partnership has a color preference

comb · vt to remove loose fluff from the mat with a comb

concave up · adj said of a wink on the mat whose upper surface is concave [Until the 1980s, nearly all winks had a slightly concave side and a slightly convex side. Concave side up was considered preferable by many winkers for most shots.]

  • 1977 Youth March. Page 48. Even then, slight imperfections in the wink’s shape—uneven thickness, concave or convexness, curving may cause the best shot to go astray.

Congress · n an annual meeting of NATwA or ETwA members

  • 1958 The Times (London) 10 May, Page 4 Column e. Mr. Downes explained that the whole thing could be ironed out at the world tiddlvwink congress in Cambridge next month when a definitive set of rules would be drawn up.
  • 1958 The Times (London) 13 June, Page 13 Column d. Delegates from the major universities spent two days at this first World Tiddlywinks Congress formulating the rules.

constipated · adj a tactical situation in which all winks of a color (or a partnership, or all players) are busy squopping other winks and sometimes busy protecting piles.

  • 1977 Verbatim Dec. Philip Michael Cohen. Page 4. constipated–said of a position in which one has winks but, because they are squopping other winks, they are tied down and useless.

Continentals (US) · n the NATwA team championship tournament that was traditionally held in February and was held from 1967 to 1986. [Referring to the North American continent, the domain of NATwA.]

  • 1974 The Missing Wink August. Severin Drix. Page 5. Even at that first “Continentals”, Harvard had not been able to field a full team (which was eight in those days, as it still is in England), and when Cornell came to Harvard a week later, Harvard had only four players, plus one from Radcliffe.
  • 1979 My Winkly Reader February. What’s the point of having the Continentals if nobody cares about winning it?

Cornell · n a NATwA team from Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.

corner · n the area behind a baseline on the mat, in the corner, three feet from the center of the mat

counter (obsolete) = n wink (term used by ETwA’s Hull Guildhall team in 1962)

counterblitz · n an attempt to blitz by an opponent of a player that already has begun to blitz

counter-pot (UK) = counterblitz

  • Winking World 54. Rob Cartwright. Page 2. I stuck five from outrageous places all under attack, but then missed the sixth. Andy cleared up and counter-potted and Cyril beat Phil for our two points.
  • 1993 The Squopsman. June. Page 2. Jon (blue) made the decision to bring in his 6th wink for the counter pot, assuming that Richard would miss his 15″ shot. Richard (green) however, managed the 7th turn pot out with ease, the long one going down on the second shot.

cracker (UK) · n a knock-off and squop (Winking World 90, page 30) [a deliberately invented term from 2007 when winks was featured on a TV programme presented by Robbie Coltrane (former star of the drama “Cracker”)]

  • Date TBD Winking World Month TBD. Matthew Fayers. Page 3. And the lexicon was expanded fairly recently, with the shot previously referred to as a ‘knock-off and squop’ being Christened the Cracker.

Crown & Centipede · n a NATwA team formed by Severin Drix, which included high school students and teachers

  • 1977 My Winkly Reader February. Also T-shirted were the Cornell team and Crown and Centipede, making Ren, the only NATwA team with a sponsor, the only ununiformed team.

crud (UK) · n, vt = blowup. See also megacrud.

  • Winking World 5, page 5

cuddle (US) · v to shoot a wink close to a pile, generally within a wink’s diameter

Cullingham squop (UK) · Two winks both leaning against the pot but not touching. The top wink is a big wink, the bottom wink is a small one. The big wink is squopping the small one.

  • 1993 alt.games.tiddlywinks, Purvis. 1 Feb.

cup = n pot

  • 1890 The Preston Chronicle and Lancashire Advertiser (England) 20 December, Page 7 Column 4 Issue 4052. Then I see that boxes are sold containing all the necessary materials for a game of “Tiddledy Winks,” which is amusing enough, and consists, as most of us know, of a little round basin or cup, a number of counters, and two or four large round discs or counters, called “fliippers,” for with these the little counters are to be flipped into the basin, and those who flip in the most get the game.

CUTwC · n \CUT wuck\ the Cambridge University Tiddlywinks Club, formed in 1955 in Cambridge, England, and still active.


dance (US) · n the movement of a wink that is twirling around in the pot or on the mat before coming to rest.

  • 1977 Verbatim Dec. Philip Michael Cohen. Page 4. dance (of a wink) to wobble around on another wink, the rim of the pot, or the mat.

Dave Taylor (UK) = Gottesman [after Dave Taylor, former CUTwC winker]

DB (US, rare) = double boondock

DC5 (US, now rare) · n five NATwA winkers residing in the Washington DC metropolitan area: Dave Lockwood, Larry Kahn, Jim Marlin, Brad Schaefer, and Rick Tucker. [after the Dave Clark Five musical group of the 1960s; usage dates from the late 1980s to 1994, when Brad moved to Connecticut]

dead (US) · adj said of a mat with inadequate resilience for proper winks play

Debby Boone (US, rare) = double boondock [After Debby Boone, American singer. First used by Rick Tucker]

Delrin · n a plastic material sometimes used to make squidgers, generally black or white. [First used by Rick Tucker in the early 1980s. Trademark of duPont]

denurdle · vi, vt to remove a wink from proximity to the pot, either by shooting that wink or by knocking it away with another wink

1desquop (UK) · vi to uncover winks that are in piles after one color has potted out

  • 1997 Winking World 68. Spring. Geoff Thorpe. Page 11. Why not stop the game when the sixth wink of a colour is potted and score up normally before transferring the point. This would stop all the silly desquopping and make scores 6.5* and 5.5* much more common.

2desquop (UK, now archaic) · vi to free a squopped wink from a pile

  • Winking World 1, page 2
  • 1962 Time 14 Sep. Page 56. A squopped wink cannot be squidged again until it is de-squopped.
  • 1971 Newswink 4, April. The vital tactic is to squop your opponents’ winks and pot them in desquopping.

dive in · vi to send one or more winks into an area dominated by opponents

  • 2008 Winking World 90. Matt Fayers. Page 48. He brought in well, but I decided to set up a counter-threat rather than dive in.

dock (UK) = boondock. (Devlin, 1985)

Dr. Fatty (UK) · onetime nickname of ETwA winker Nick Inglis

Dr. Superfatty (UK) · onetime nickname of ETwA winker Stew Sage

dominant corners · n the pair of diagonally-opposite corners of a mat that are considered more desirable than the other pair of corners. When a player is standing behind a dominant corner, his right side is near the long (six foot) side of the mat, and his left side is near the short (three foot) side of the mat. [1990s]

double (US) · n a pile in which two winks are squopped by one wink. vt to shoot to create a double

double blitz · n simultaneous blitz attempts by both colors of a partnership

double boondock · n a boondock that sends two (usually opponent) winks far away

double-pot · n a game strategy in which both players of a partnership attempt to pot out. Such a strategy rarely succeeds in modern winks.

  • Winking World 54. Jon Mapley. He tried his usual tedious strategy of double-pot, but most people grew out of that in about 1962.
  • 2008 Winking World 90. Alan Dean. Page 18. Then in the second game (double-pot type), I took the risk of letting Dave try a reasonable, though not certain, pot-out.

1double-squop · n a game strategy in which both players of a partnership attempt to control their opponents by squopping, without intending to pot their own winks until control is obtained. (Winking World 4, page 8)

  • 1963 Sennet 15 Jan. Page 7. The Londoners double-squopped fiendishly against the now weary opposition and gained first place in every game to give them a final victory by four clear points.
  • 1970 The Illustrated London News Volume 256, Number 1. The ” Double-Squop ” school prefers both players of the pair to cover their opponents’ winks before going for the pot.
  • 1997 Winking World Spring. Charles Relle. Page 18. However, during the academic year
    1960-1961, double squop took hold, especially as Oxford, using double squop, beat Cambridge in the Varsity match of 1961.

2double squop (rare) · n a shot that sends two friendly winks towards two different target winks, often in different directions

doubleton (UK) = n double. [Originated by Relle; derived from the term doubleton in the game of bridge]

  • 2008 Winking World 90. Andrew Garrard. Page 24. Sadly I rapidly ended up under three doubletons, some by my own subbing.

drag off · vi, vt to knock a wink off another wink, leaving it nearby

Dragon · nickname of American winker Dave Lockwood

Dragon Cup (US) · n a tournament sponsored by Dave Lockwood in 1979. Later, a challenge singles match (best score in five games),starting in 1989, patterned after ETwA’s Jubilee Singles. [from Dragon, nickname of Dave Lockwood]

drop-kick (obsolete) · vi [To be provided.] [Based on a term used in Rugby Union and Rugby League; it is a kick in which you drop the ball on the ground and kick it as it bounces up.]

drunken wink · n a wink that rolls and slides along the mat in an unexpectedly meandering fashion

  • 1977 Verbatim Dec. Philip Michael Cohen. Page 4. drunken wink—a wink that behaves unpredictably or bizarrely.

DuPont, send it to (US, obscure/obsolete) · a boondock with considerable force, with the intention of sending the boondocked wink off the table [Originally used by Dave Pinckney to Fred Shapiro, referring to sending the wink in the direction of the DuPont gymnasium, a building adjacent to the MIT Student Center; late 1970s. However, Fred thought he heard “send it to the pot”.]


Eastern Regionals (US) · n an annual NATwA teams tournament, generally held in December at MIT. The Easterns were held from 1970 to 1980.

  • 1978 Newswink 8, 12 May. We hereby attempt to disprove the compelling thesis that no interesting article can be written about the 1977 Eastern Regionals, held at MIT December 3.

eat (US) = vt squop

  • 1977 Verbatim Dec. Philip Michael Cohen. Page 4. eat—to squop; especially, to squop thoroughly, completely covering the lower wink.

egg cup (obsolete) = n pot

  • 1958 New York Herald Tribune 16 Jul. But in Britain there is a rudimentary literature of tiddlywinks, and one manual says: “Take an egg cup and set it in the center of a blanket spread taut on a table.[“]

Eggs · n nickname of Reverend E. A. Willis, first Secretary-General of ETwA

ETwA, Etwa · n the English Tiddlywinks Association, founded in 1958

  • 1958 The Times (London) 13 June, Page 13 Column d. The congress, which was sponsored by the Cambridge University Tiddlywinks Club, also formed an English Tiddlywinks Association and appointed the Rev. E. A. Willis, a retired Minister, of Richmond, Surrey, who has played tiddlywinks for more than 50 years, as its secretary general.

ETwAn · n a member of ETwA


failure to free · n a situation during a game after one partnership has played its free turns following squopping out its opponents, and has not freed any opponent winks

  • 1997 Winking World 68. Spring. Patrick Barrie. Page 22. failure to free ceased to be a foul shot some 5+ years ago.

feeb (US) · vi to make a poor attempt at a shot, usually in reference to a short squop attempt in which the shooting wink falls short of its target. Also n. [clipped from feeble] See also poss and George Michael

felt · n the material with which all current officially-sanctioned mats have been made [originally made of natural wool, later synthetic]

Ferd · n nickname of NATwA winker Peter Wulkan [After his childhood nickname, “Ferdinand the Bull”]

  • 1971 Newswink 4, April. On the Saturday morning, as the matches were just getting under way, Somerville’s Ferdinand T. Bull said they were so confident of a win that they had left the CHYM Trophy at their home near Boston, Massachusetts.

fiat vincs ruat cælum · let winks be played, though the heavens crumble; NATwA motto. [adapted from the Latin phrase “fiat justitia ruat caelum“: Let justice be done though the heavens fall]

  • 1976 NATwA Songbook.
  • 1977 Youth March. Page 48. Like the NATwA motto says, Fiat vincs, ruat cælum. (Let winks be played, though the heavens crumble.)
  • 2011 The Oxford Student (England). Online. As the North American Tiddlywinks Association motto says, “Fiat vincs, ruat cælum!”

fiber-based phenolic· n a plastic material sometimes used to make squidgers, generally brown. First used by Rick Tucker. Abbreviated FBP.

field of play · n the surfaces on the mat where shots may be made once brought in from the line

  • 1997 Winking World 68. Spring. Patrick Barrie. Page 21. Following on from last year’s
    complications over what constitutes the “field of play”, we wish to stateexplicitly that winks in the pot can’t be played.

five-way pot-squop · n a perversion in which five colors are employed. See Alleghany
Airlines Book Club Presents
for the rules

  • 1971 Newswink 4, April. 5-way squop out (conceptualized by NATwA winker Bob Henninge in a fit of incoherence)

flat (UK) · adj said of an unsquopped wink in play

flat wink (UK) · n an unsquopped wink in play

Fleas · n an encyclopedic publication by NATwA winker Fred Shapiro that appeared in November 1978. [From fleas, the name for the game of tiddlywinks in many languages, e.g. jeu de puce (French).]

flexible squidger · n a squidger made of nonrigid plastic, often a bottle-top or (especially in Great Britain) a phonecard or credit card

flexisquidger = flexible squidger

flip · n a shot that results in at least one wink coming to rest on its other side. Also vt.

flog · n a perversion in which players pot winks. See Alleghany Airlines Book Club Presents for the rules. [the word “golf”, backwards]

fluff · n a pilled tuft of felt from the mat

  • 1970 Newswink 2, April. At times I see myself as a piece of fluff under a pile of winks about to be exploited.

foreign visitor rule · n a ruling by IFTwA that grants the highest-placing national contestant (in a national championship) the right to challenge the world champions should the winner of the national championship include a foreigner. (Early 1980s)

foul shot (UK) · n a shot that is contrary to the rules of tiddlywinks

four-color game · n the official game of tiddlywinks, in which four sets of colored winks are used, six each of blue, green, red, and yellow

four pot relay · n an event recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records that involves four winkers each potting winks into his or her own pot for a specified length of time. When the first winker pots a wink, the second winker removes it and pots it into the second pot, and so on until having potted it into all four pots

  • 1970 Newswink 3, September. World 4-pot relay record broken! Old record was 24. New record established (twice) by Ferd, Bob, Sunshine, and Severin – 33 !!!

fractional score · n a game score of 5½ to 1½, 4⅔ to 2⅓, 4½ to 2½, or 3½ to 3½ in the official four-color game of tiddlywinks

free · vt, vi to get a squopped wink out of a pile as a result of a shot

free turns · n The turns awarded a partnership that has squopped-out the opponent partnership

free wink · n a wink that is not squopped, not in the pot, and has been played from the baseline

friendly game · n an informal game intended to be relaxing and not competitive

  • 1993 The Squopsman. June. Bruce Turnbull. But as we know today, “there is no such thing as a friendly game.”

fuzz = fluff


game point · n one of the total of 7 points that are awarded at the conclusion of an official four-color game of tiddlywinks. These 7 points include 4 that are awarded to the color with the most tiddlies (time-limit points), 2 to the next color, 1 to the next, and 0 to the remaining color. 1 point is transferred to the winning partnership in the event of a potout

George Michael (UK) (rare) = feeb [early 1980s]

Gill the location of NATwA’s 25th anniversary reunion, in 1991 [Gill, Massachusetts]

GNATs (US) (rare) n · Great North American Title. A list of the top winners and second-place finishers in NATwA tournaments [named by Dave Lockwood]

  • 1978 Newswink 8, 12 May

Golden Squidger (UK) n · an ETwA competition involving pairs

Good (also g-) · vt, vi to perform a Good shot on a wink

Good shot (sometimes good shot) · n a shot in which a played wink causes another wink to be moved (typically knocked off another wink) as a result of the played wink’s pressure on the wink from the bottom face or edge of the moved wink. [Invented by John Good of MIT, 1972.]

Goode shot = Good shot [“Goode” is a misspelling of the last name of John Good, inventor of the shot]

  • 1977 Verbatim Dec. Philip Michael Cohen. Page 4. Goode shot—a shot used when one has a wink touching, but not on an unwanted pile. The wink is pressed hard into the mat and, when released, goes through the pile, thoroughly scattering it.

Goons · n a BBC radio comedy troupe in the 1950s that played CUTwC in March 1958 at the request of Prince Philip, to defend his honor. The Goons team included Spike Milligan, Harry Secombe, Peter Sellers, Wallace Greenslade, Graham Stark, Max Geldray, Alan Simpson, and Ray Galton.

  • 1957 The Times (London) 17 December, Page 9 Column d. Early in the New Year a match, in aid of the National Playing Fields Association, will be played between the Goons, who have, with permission, taken the tide of Prince Philip’s Royal Tiddlywinks Champions, and the Cambridge University Tiddlywinks Club

Gottesman (US) · n a game strategy in which each wink that is brought in from the baseline is potted before subsequent winks of that color are brought in. [Named after Mike Gottesman of Harvard, 1966.] = (UK) Dave Taylor

grand tour (US) · n the path of a wink that rolls around the pot or through areas where other winks are located [after the phrase, “a grand tour of the universe”]

1Great White Wink (rare) · n a fictional god-like overseer of winkdom. [After The Great White Hope, a play and film about boxing.]

  • 1980 Newswink 10. 16 Feb. Rick Tucker. The Ross Callon-Jim Roberts game ended in the 5th round with one end of the table collapsing and winks skittering off about the room (influenced by the Great White Wink?).
  • 2008. Winking World 90. Alan Dean. Page 19. Sometimes I think the Great White Wink pre-ordains these games and I’m just a puppet on a string

2Great White Wink (rare) · n a parable written by Fred Shapiro included in the publication, Fleas, in 1978

gromp · n a shot that moves a pile of winks to squop another wink. Also vt.

  • 1977 Verbatim Dec. Philip Michael Cohen. Page 4. gromp—to move a pile as a whole onto another wink or pile.

Gromper’s Gazette · n a NATwA newsletter appearing in 1992

guard (UK) · n a solo wink near a friendly pile

Guinness Book of Records (UK) · a book documenting exemplary feats, including tiddlywinks records. The US edition omitted tiddlywinks for many years.

Guinness Trophy (UK) = Bombay Bowl

Guess the Milk · n a joke told, and retold, by NATwA winker, Severin Drix

  • 1979 Newswink 9, 17 February. Word has reached our ears that Severin is planning to do the “Guess the Milk” joke with Ferd this year.

GUTS · n the Gargoyle Undergraduate Tiddlywinks Society at Harvard, 1962-1964. The Gargoyle was a humor magazine at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

  • 1962 Harvard Alumni Bulletin 27 Oct. Page 110. Accordingly, we formed GUTS (the Gargoyle Undergraduate Tiddlywinks Society), lost to Oxford, and now represent Harvard as the strongest team in America.
  • 1962 Sports Illustrated 17 Dec. Page 22. So stupid that Sports Illustrated is covering it Saturday only, Yale vs. the undefeated G.U.T.S.
  • 1966 The Crimson (Harvard) 8 March. The GUTS team played a wide-open brawling game.


hairy’s den (UK, now rare) · n an area on the mat totally dominated by the opposition [used by ETwA winkers from the Bancroft team]

Hampshire Open Pairs (UK) · a tournament once played annually at Southampton

Harvest (US) · n a NATwA tournament held in October around harvest time in early October from 1976 to 1980, replacing the HOTT [named by Rick Tucker]

hassle · v to shoot a wink to land near an opponent wink with the intent of keeping the other wink busy or worried that it will be squopped

  • 2008 Winking World 90. Alan Dean. Page 17. Red had quite a supply of pottable winks, but blue was struggling, especially when hassled by green.

Horsemeat · n nickname of Larry Kahn [from Larry’s statement at the 1976 NATwA Pairs: “I’m playing like horsemeat.”]

  • 2008 Winking World 90. Larry Kahn. Page 31.Larry’s ‘winks career started to take off when for some unknown reason Severin Drix decided to partner him in the 1976 pairs. After winning that (this is where the ‘horsemeat’ quote comes from), they went on to win the next two

HOTT (US) · n the Halloween Open Teams Tournament, a NATwA tournament held around Halloweenat the end of October from 1971 to 1975.

  • 1974 The Missing Wink August. Severing Drix. Page 6. Matches were generally for two teams, and there was no overall structure to either guarantee that matches would occur (such as many “traditional” dates we now have, e.g. HOTT, BIT, Regionals, Continentals, etc.) or to give any sort of standings for the teams.

Humbletoad Tree Farm · n a farm based in eastern Ohio, developed by Bob Henninge, and home to some winkers of the Toads team

Hyth · n short for HYTHNLBTWOC

HYTHNLBTWOC (US) · n \HITH nul BIT wok\ (US) Hark yon tree hath no leaves but they will out club, a NATwA team formed by Sunshine. The shortened version of the name is Hyth. The team evolved to become the TKOs. [First played in the February 1970 Continentals. Named by members of the team, each team member adding a word to the name]

  • 1970 Newswink 3, September, Sunshine. My team’s name is HYTHNLBTWOC (pronounced hith-nil-bit-wock), or “Hark Yon Tree Has No Leaves But They Will Out”.


idiot’s delight · n trying to pot a wink into a pot that is held in the hand and used as a squidger on the wink. See Alleghany Airlines Book Club Presents for the rules

IFTwA · n \IF twa\ the International Federation of Tiddlywinks Associations, the governing body for all recognized tiddlywinks associations

Ilkeston Toys · n the name of a British toy company that supplied tiddlywinks equipment in the early 1970s; formed by the owner of Marchant Games, Hughes Rudd

illegal shot (US) = foul shot

Indian rule (US) · n a convention in which blue squidges-off first, either green or yellow next, and then the color partnering the closer wink to the cup squidges-off. [Named for Saul Agranoff (Indian), who first proposed it in the mid-1970s].

Individual Pairs (IP) · n a type of tournament during which each winker partners each other winker in the match; the individual with the highest total of match points is designated the winner [The first NATwA Individual Pairs was held on 28 April 1984]

Individuals = Individual Pairs

Inglis game (UK) · n an extremely passive tactical situation that results from one wink of each color being squopped and safely guarded, and free winks well grouped, so that any aggressive shot is likely to be suicidal. Similar to positional game (US)

International Federation of Tiddlywinks Associations (IFTwA) · n the international organization that oversees the activities of recognized national and regional tiddlywinks associations (currently ETwA and NATwA), conducts world tiddlywinks championships (World Pairs, World Singles, and other events), and addresses any differences among the national associations

IP (US) · n abbreviation for Individual Pairs

Invitational (UK) · n a tournament to which participating winkers are invited by the host, often held in a winker’s home


jab shot (US) · n a type of shot in which the squidger is forcefully applied to a wink in a short, hard, straight motion

John Lennon memorial shot = boondock and squop.

  • 1993 The Squopsman, June. In terms of technique, everyone was inspired by the consistency in potting and squopping, never mind the variety of pile shots (at last we find out exactly what the John Lennon Memorial Shot is!).

Jubilee Singles (UK) · n a singles match in which anyone may challenge the current champion to a match and in which the best score in five games wins

judge (US) · n a third party called in to decide a dispute between two winkers. The ETwA term generally used is umpire, although judge is used when the matter in question is the legality of a shot

jump in (US) · vi to send winks into an area that the opponents control

junior birdman (US) · n a bomb shot during which a wink is shot in a high trajectory into the air towards the target. The ETwA term is Port Stanley.

Junior Continentals (US) · n a NATwA tournament restricted to winkers who were high school students or younger

  • 1972 Newswink 5, February. The first annual North American Junior Continental Championships have been tentatively scheduled for the weekend of March 18-19.


kick (obsolete) = butt (Cohen, 1977)

kickshot (UK) (obsolete) · n a shot in which the wink is potted after bouncing on the mat (Winking
, page 5, 1964)

knock off · adj said of a shot played with the aim of disturbing another pile or squop and hopefully freeing friendly winks. Also knock-off n

  • 2008 Winking World 90. Andrew Garrard. Page 43. Knock-offs from range require a lot more accuracy than the size of the target wink would suggest.

knock-off-and-squop · adj said of a shot played to free a friendly wink and squop the opponent who was originally squopping the target pile or squop

  • Winking World 54. Andy Purvis. Jon then added insult to injury by going for another long pot – this flew over the cup, but got a knock-off and squop the other side!

knock-out · adj a tournament format in which winners in each round play against each other in subsequent rounds, and losers play against losers. The ultimate winner is the winker who wins all rounds.

kumquat (US, now rare/obscure) · n a variant of a persimmon game in which three players play the two colors of a partnership in a game, with one player shooting one color regularly, and the other two players alternating shots with the other color. (October 1978, Harvest tournament.) [From kumquat, the fruit. See persimmon.]


L · n nickname of American winker Richard Hussong

launch · vt to shoot a wink from atop another wink, using it as a launching pad

launching pad · n the wink(s) below the shooting wink that can be clicked against to send the shooting wink sharply and with a low trajectory to bomb a pile

Lennon = John Lennon memorial shot

line = baseline

linear squop · n a sequence of three or more winks in which each wink (but one) is squopping just one other wink, all in a line

lip · n upper rim of the pot

little (US) ·  n a small wink

London Open · an ETwA pairs tournament played annually in London

lose (UK) = vt 1boondock

lunch · vt to pot an opponent’s wink as a result of shooting one’s own wink on a pile. [First used by Sunshine in the early 1970s.]

  • 1977 Verbatim Dec. Philip Michael Cohen. Page 4. lunch—to pot an opponent’s wink to gain strategic advantage; to trounce, especially in get lunched.

LUSTS · n the Latymer Upper School Tiddlywinks Society of London, England


Mad Dog · onetime nickname of ETwA winker Andy Purvis

  • Winking World 54. Tony Heading. And so we come to Little ol’ Me and Mad Dog Purvis.
  • 2004 The Guardian (UK) 26 October. I was referring to the really interesting clash last week, when our very own Andy “Mad Dog” Purvis beat legendary American Larry Kahn to win the world tiddlywinks championships.

Marchant Games · n an English company that supplied official tiddlywinks sets to ETwA and NATwA during the late 1950s, the 1960s, and the early 1970s. Marchant also sold retail versions of tiddlywinks games in the same timeframe.

Marchant Trophy (UK) ·  n a trophy for tournament for ETwA teams of four, played over the years to different formats and now practically in abeyance. This was originally a challenge trophy for all-England champions. The trophy was presented originally by Marchant Games [Started in February 1959]

mat · n the surface on which the game of tiddlywinks is played, which is 6 feet long and 3 feet wide, and for official games are made of felt

  • 1958 Sports Illustrated 7 Apr. Page M6. In its infancy the club quickly verified that a mat is the factor that makes a wink rise.

mat rotation · n a system ensuring that in a serious tournament a player cannot play on the same mats too frequently

match play · adj  a tournament structure employed in which the winner of a tournament is determined based on the number of wins rather than the sum of individual game points  [The early rules of the game of tiddlywinks had “Match Play Tiddlywinks” in their titles; this is no longer used]

match point = game point

megacrud (UK) · n an illegal crud (pile break-up) shot where the squidger starts high above the intended wink on a pile that is being shot. Because of the positioning of the squidger with the winks, it is difficult to determine whether the squidger hit the winker’s proper colored wink first.

Mickey Mouse · n a form of tripleton where the squopped winks are flat and separate, usually all small, so that when squopped, two ears and a mouth/nose stick out. [First used by the Bancroft School team in England]

middle for diddle (UK, especially Relle) · a cry of encouragement preceding the squidge-off [originated by ETwA winker John Furlonger.]

Milton Bradley · n a US manufacturer of tiddlywinks for the general market; usage generally connotes a quality insufficient for tournament play. Note that Milton Bradley was bought out by Hasbro in 1984.

minimum (US) · n a squidger that is 25mm (formerly 1 inch) in diameter, which is the smallest permitted by the rules

mint-jelly squidger (UK, now rare/obscure) · n a squidger made of nonrigid plastic, but somewhat more than credit card thickness; often from the lid of a jar
of Sainsbury’s Mint Jelly

miracle shot (US) · n a shot that attempts to accomplish objectives that are very unlikely to be achievable

miss-a-turn rule (US) · n the rule that is in effect when players of a game have opted not to use the perimeter rule when a player’s wink goes off the playing surface. [First use: June 1993, NATwA Singles]

Missing Wink, The · n a publication of NATwA that appeared from May 1974 to November 1976, during the absence of Newswink. [Rhyming slang based on the phrase “missing link” in anthropology]

MIT · n a NATwA team

MITASS · n Massachusetts Institute of Technology Association of Squidgers and Squoppers

  • 1966 The Daily Reamer 24 May. Page 8. A hastily assembled team from the MIT association of Squidgers and Squoppers showed unexpected strength last weekend in taking second place in a triangular Tiddleywinks meet at Cornell.


MITTwA · n the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Tiddlywinks Association

mobile wink · n a wink that is not part of a pile or in the pot. = flat (UK). Compare to free wink

M.U.B. · n onetime nickname of ETwA winker Richard Moore [abbreviation for Miserable Unshaven Bastard]

Muenster (US, now obscure) · n a particular large yellow wink of Walmsleys manufacture that is much thicker on one edge than the other [played by Sunshine in the 1970s and thereabouts; related to Muenster cheese, which is of a yellow/orange color]

murgatroyd (UK) (obsolete) · n a badly manufactured Walmsleys wink that is flat on both sides. [Edwards, in Eric Partridge book, 1984]

MUTS · n MIT Undergraduate Tiddlywinks Society, circa 1962

  • 1963 The Technology Review Feb. Page 44. Michael E. Platt, ’63, captain of the MUTS (the M.I.T. Undergraduate Tiddlywink Society), admits that he thought the game was “kind of funny” at first, but now believes it really is a good game that may spread further.

My Winkly Reader · n a publication of NATwA that appeared from February 1977 to March 1978, during the absence of Newswink [Name was a take-off on My Weekly Reader, a publication oriented to elementary school children in the USA.]


NAC (US, now rare) · n North American Championship

narg (UK) · n abbreviation for “not a real gentleman”, namely, a nerd

National Fours (UK) · n an ETwA tournament with teams consisting of four winkers

National Pairs (UK) · n ETwA’s annual pairs championship, held since 1972. The winning pair is eligible to challenge the reigning World Pairs champions.

National Singles (UK) · n ETwA’s annual singles championship, held since 1971. The winning winker is eligible to challenge the reigning World Singles champion.

NATwA · n the North American Tiddlywinks Association, founded on 27 February 1966

  • 1969 Nashua Telegraph (Nashua, New Hampshire) 3 February, Page 16, Column 3.The 1969 championships of the North American Tiddlywinks Association are scheduled to be held this month at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with four colleges competing
  • 1970 Newswink 2, April. One was the official abbreviation for the North American Tiddlywinks Association (the abbr. NATwA was accepted after much heated debate)

NATwAn · n a member of NATwA

NATwA Pairs · n NATwA’s annual pairs championship, held since 1970. The winning pair is eligible to challenge the reigning World Pairs champions.

NATwA Singles · n NATwA’s annual singles championship, held since 1972. The winning winker is eligible to challenge the reigning World Singles champion.

NATwA Song Book · n NATwA’s publication of song lyrics.

needleloom (rare) · adj a material used to make tiddlywinks mats before felt was adopted

  • 1997 Winking World 68. Spring. Charles Relle. Page 20. Mats were made of needleloom, a heavy, pileless material supplied by a firm called Peter Shepherd in Reading. They had a rubberised backing, and were slightly less springy than the present mats.

Newswink · n official publication of NATwA, 1969 to 1997. [back-formation from Newsweek, a U.S. weekly news magazine]

NEWTS (UK) · n New London Tiddlywinks Society. Also Newts

  • Winking World 54. Rob Cartwright. Page 2. The selection was due to the indefatigable efforts of this lot to go to Newts meetings, despite living up to a hundred miles away!

NHIPper (UK) · n the National Handicapped Individual Pairs, an ETwA tournament

nominated wink (UK) · a wink of any color that has been selected by a squopped-out pair to be shot as a consequence of the opponents’ failure to free [ETwA rules, May 1992]

  • Winking World 54. Jon Mapley. For the first shot of the turn immediately following the failure to free, the player due to play the next colour shall nominate a playable wink of any colour and play it as if it were his own.

Northern Junior Tiddlywinks Championship · n an ETwA tournament for students younger than college age

  • 1965 The Times (London) 5 January, Page 11 Column b. Attending my first and England’s seventh Northern Junior Tiddlywinks Championship today I did not have the authority to promise any hope for the former ambition, but I was able to admire the progress being made in the second.

nurdle · vt to shoot a wink that lands in a nurdled position, very close to the pot. (first used by ETwA’s Hull Guildhall team in 1962)

  • Winking World 4, page 11
  • 1977 Verbatim Dec. Philip Michael Cohen. Page 4. nurdle—to shoot (a wink) too close to the pot to be pottable or otherwise useful.

nurdle, boondock, penhaligon (UK) · n an ETwA drinking game based on counting

nurdled · adj said of a wink that is very close to the pot, typically beneath the top rim of the pot and hence probably not easy to pot

nursery game · n a derogatory term for low-quality, commercially-available tiddlywinks sets

  • 1974 The Missing Wink August. Severin Drix. Page 4. The development of the modern strategy game out of the Milton Bradley-style nursery game, and the step-by-step evolution of our current rules, tournaments, and teams is a process whose most important stages occurred in England.

NUTS · n the National Undergraduate Tiddlywinks Society (US), 1962-1966

  • 1962 Harvard Alumni Bulletin 27 Oct. Page 110. Having done this, they went through some quick, intensive calesthenics, picked the four most husky of their numbers, declared they were ready, and proceeded to cries of “Desquop that wink!” and “Squidge it, Harvard,” to vanquish Holy Cross and win first place for Harvard in NUTS, the National Undergraduate Tiddlywinks Society.

NW · abbreviation for the NATwA publication, Newswink


OAK-BYTE, Oakbyte (US) · n 1. the telephone number at 64 Dane Street in Somerville, Massachusetts. 2. the name of the house at that address, where several winkers lived in the 1970s and 1980s

  • 1974 The Missing Wink August. Page 3. The car spent most of this free time relaxing in the Oak-byte driveway or in front of the Student Center.

Old Hall · n a winking venue at Queens’ College, Cambridge, England

On the Mat · n a document by Guy Consterdine published in March 1967 that described the origins and history of modern tiddlywinks from 1954 to 1957

“Other Nations” ·  ETwA’s anthem, composed by Rev. E. A. Willis for the Goons match in March 1958

out = squopped out

OUTS · n the Oxford University Tiddlywinks Society

  • 1958 The Times (London) 10 May, Page 4 Column e. But after their exhausting contest of three hours and a quarter with the Oxford University Tiddlywinks Society they were disputing Oxford’s claim that the title now belonged to them.

outwinked · adj said of one or more winkers who have been outplayed by other winker(s)

  • 1959 Yale Daily News (New Haven, Connecticut) 27 February, Page 4 Column 5. In a fiercely fought marathon Cambridge outwinked Oxford for the world tiddlywinks championship yesterday.

Oxford underhand · n a shot that attempts to pot a nurdled wink. It involved dragging the wink rather obviously from under the edge of the pot, and letting it go at a convenient distance from the pot. It disregarded the “quick and continuous” stipulation in the rules. [from CUTwC in the early 1960s.]


Pairs · n a type of tournament in which fixed partnerships compete to win

Palin · n an all-play-all format, where winkers play against those in the same league once, abbreviated apa1n [named after Sarah Palin due to the similarity of 10apa1n to Palin]

  • 2008 email from Larry Kahn. 14 Oct. When I see something like “10apa1in” it looks too much like “Palin” and I barf all over my keyboard.
  • 2008 email from Matt Fayers. 16 Oct. I agree with Larry that the proposed format for the 10-player final is terrible; the full Palin is the way to go, and there’s no harm in doing a
    round on the Saturday evening.

pass · vi electing not to take a shot

Paul McCartney (UK) · n a boondock shot that results in the shot wink being subbed [Back-formation from John Lennon]

PBTT (US, now rare/obscure) · n abbreviation for “power behind the throne”, someone with great influence over a NATwA Sec-Gen

  • 1977 My Winkly Reader February. Page 11. Subsequently, there being so many new winkers, the PBTT made introductions highlighting the uniqueness of each player.

penhaligon and Penhaligon = Carnovsky [after a TV presenter who managed to pot winks from a distance on his first attempt, on BBC’s Breakfast Time]

  • 2008 Winking World 90. Alan Harper. Page 29. Steve displayed amazing long potting skills by Penhaligoning two winks early on

pentad (Relle) · n a pile in which five winks are squopped by one wink

perimeter rule (US) · n an opt-in, unofficial rule that dictates that a wink sent off the playing surface is placed anywhere on the perimeter by the opponents, and that the shooting player does not miss his or her next shot. However, if the playing wink’s color is sent off the playing surface in
conjunction with any other wink(s), the playing wink’s color misses its next shot. This optional rule originated in the US during the 1980s and was prominently espoused by Sunshine.

persimmon (US) · n a variant of the official tiddlywinks game in which three winkers play the two colors of a partnership, rotating uniformly among the three players. (February 1978, Continentals tournament.) [Created by Sunshine. From persimmon, the fruit; analogy with pear, being a pun on pair, a partnership.] = (UK) rotating three

  • 1978 Newswink 8, 12 May. Some discussion is expected in the future as to the legality of “persimmons” in other NATwA matches. A “persimmon” consists of three winkers playing in a rotation, no color being controlled by any single winker. It is standard for Chicken Heart practices.

perversion · n a game played with winks that is not the standard four-color game played to official rules. Perversions include simulations of other sports (e.g., baseball) plus other variants. Sunshine’s Alleghany Airlines Book Club Presents (February 1976) is the seminal publication on perversions

  • 1972 Newswink 5, February, Page 15. Perversions flourished in 1971.  Besides squop game variations like “tennis”, sadistic games like Squidger and Bite have been experimented with.

Petrie piddle (obsolete) = n piddle

  • 1977 Verbatim Dec. Philip Michael Cohen. Page 4. Petrie piddle—desquopping a wink by squeezing it out from underneath a pile.

PFTL = pot-from-the-line

phonecard squidger (UK) · n squidger made from a flexible British Telecom (BT) phonecard [1908s]

piddle (US) · n a delicate shot on a pile in which a squopped wink is gently freed from it. Also vt. = (UK) chipcarve out

  • 1977 Verbatim Dec. Philip Michael Cohen. Page 4. piddle—to make microscopic adjustments in a pile, usually to walk it off a friendly wink.

piece (now rare) = wink [from the game of chess]

pile · n a group of two or more winks, some squopped and ordinarily one or more free, in which each wink is either squopping another wink in the group, and/or is squopped by another wink in the group

pile flip · n a shot that results in a wink from within a pile or underneath a squop ending up on top

pile-jump (UK) = gromp (Winking World 50, page 13)

PINTS (UK) · n the Pinner Tiddlywinks Society

pip (now rare) · n a notional measure of benefit resulting from a shot [1980s+]

pivot · n the movement of a wink around a point of contact with another wink during a shot

Plan 47 (obscure) · n potting a partnership’s remaining free winks when many of its winks are squopped in a large pile, with the hope that the opponents will be forced to free a wink from that pile. [Originated by British winker Gregory Hogg, a schoolfriend and winks partner of Jonathan Mapley, who fell madly in love with a girl whose house number was 47.]

plexy (US) · n a squidger made of Plexiglas [a trademark of Autuglas, International]

  • 1977 My Winkly Reader February. Page 12. The 2″ plexi-glass sharp monster for pile busting and potting nurdled big winks is impressive, just lying there.

point · n either a time-limit point (now called a tiddly) or a game point (also called a match point)

point transfer · n the transfer of one game point from the losing side to the winning side in a game that ends in a potout

poke (US) · n the application of a squidger to a wink or pile with a quick, short stroke that is intended to result in moving a single wink a short distance to result in a desired objective.

Port Stanley (UK) = n bomb (Devlin, 1985)

positional game · n a game that is marked by many fine adjustments to the positions of winks on the mat. In Britain, chiefly associated with Nick Inglis—hence sometimes an Inglis game. In the USA in the 1970s, these games were associated with Bill Renke and Ross Callon.

poss (UK) · n to send a wink no more than a quarter of the distance intended, especially if the shot was an easy one [Named after Poss Ellis, OUTS winker, January 1993 during the Cambridge Open] See feeb.

  • Newswink 28, page 10. His partner is Oxford first-year, Poss. Imagine Charles’ delight when an enemy wink lands a millimetre away from a Poss wink. Now imagine his consternation when Poss squop attempt falls short.

pot · n the cup that is placed at the center of the mat in the official four-color game of tiddlywinks. It has an external diameter of 48mm at the top and 38mm at the base, and is concave around its side.

  • 1891 American Stationer 12 Feb. Page 320. large wood box with lithographed label, box partitioned for the different counters, handsome pot, painted and varnished, with bale and feet

pot · vt, vi to shoot a wink with the objective of having it come to rest in the pot. (Winking World 1, page 2)

pot-five-and-bring-in · adj a strategy for potting out where a winker pots five winks of one color while the sixth and last wink is behind the winker’s starting baseline, and needs to be brought in to play

  • 2008 Winking World 90. Alan Dean. Page 14. Having gone off with red, and facing a green pot-out threat, Bob was coerced into a pot-five-and-bring-in strategy with blue.

pot-from-the-line · n a Guinness Book of Records event in which twelve small winks at the baseline of the mat are potted in the fewest number of shots. Abbreviated as PFTL.

pot-out, potout · n the achievement of having all winks of a color in the pot. Also vi

pot-squop · n a game strategy in which one player of a partnership focuses on potting out and remaining pottable, while the partner focuses on squopping the opponents

  • 1970 Illustrated London News. Volume 256, Number 1. Pundits will argue hours over two competing strategies. The “Pot-Squop” school plump for one player in a tiddley pair to pot his winks while the other delays the opposition team by “squopping” (covering) their winks with his own.
  • 1977 Cornell Alumni News July. Page 23. A common strategy, known as “pot-squop”, calls for a player to attempt to shoot all of one color into the cup (pot out) while using his or her other color to squop enemy winks and rescue any winks that become squopped.

pot-style · adj holding a squidger at an obtuse (downward) angle toward the direction of a shot

pottable · adj said of a wink that potentially can be potted, either directly or indirectly by shooting another wink

  • 1977 Verbatim Dec. Philip Michael Cohen. Page 4. nurdle—to shoot (a wink) too close to the pot to be pottable or otherwise useful.

potter (rare/obsolete) · n a winker who is better at potting in a partnership in the pot-squop game strategy

  • 1997 Winking World 68. Spring. Charles Relle. Page 18. This was 1960, and the distinction between potter and squopper existed because double-squop strategy, in which both partners bring in their winks a view to squopping the opponents, had been invented only the year before, in Oxford.

potting at risk · n the attempt to pot a wink during a turn when a partner’s color is due to free an opponent wink at the conclusion of free turns

potting game (US) = baseline pot

ppg · n points-per-game average

ppl · n points-per-loss average

ppt · n points-per-tie average.  If there are ties, this is 3½. Otherwise, this is undefined.

ppw · n points-per-win average

President’s Joke (Cambridge University, England) = Sicilian Bandit Joke

press (US) · n a shot consisting predominantly of downward pressure. A press shot is often used to free a wink that is barely squopped somewhere in a pile. = (UK) tap

protect · vt, vi to send a wink to land near a pile where it can more readily either (1) squop any opponent winks that may be close enough to easily squop the pile, or (2) respond to an opponent getting a wink on the pile

protection · n the state of having winks near enough to a pile to be able to squop any opponents approaching the pile

push shot · n a shot consisting overwhelmingly of lateral pressure (with little or no downward pressure), which is contrary to the rules.

PVC · n polyvinyl chloride, a material sometimes used for making squidgers, and typically light gray in color. [First used by Larry Kahn in making squidgers]


quad (US) · n a pile in which four winks are squopped by one wink

quadrupleton (UK) = quad

  • 2008 Winking World 90 John Haslegrave. Page 41. Blue still had the green doubleton, and when green missed a long squop and landed on a yellow, Matt took a quadrupleton with a
    big red.

Quarter Blue (UK) · n an award to a CUTwC winker for playing against Oxford

QuCTwC \kwuck twuck\ (UK) · n the Queens’ College Tiddlywinks Club at Cambridge University in England

QESH (sometimes QUESH) (UK) · n a team named from Queen Ethelberga’s School, Harrogate, an establishment having nothing at all to do with any of the players on the team, but which they once happened to drive past

quick and continuous · adj said of a shot in which the squidger is moved without hesitation or discontinuity during the execution of the shot

  • 1997 Winking World 68. Spring. Charles Relle. Page 7. From the moment when a wink starts to move irreversibly, the movement of the squidger must be quick and continuous.

QUILTS · n an ETwA Marchant Trophy team formed by players from Queens’ College, Cambridge [= QUeensmen In London Tiddlywinks Society]


rabbit-bashing · n racking up high scores when playing against very weak opponents

ramp · n a wink in a pile that is leaning against another wink and is also touching the mat

rating · n a numerical measure associated with a winker based on the winker’s performance in play. Ratings of winker play in tournaments is maintained by ETwA.

Red Scarf · n nickname of NATwA winker, Bill Gammerdinger

  • 1971 Newswink 4, April. Bill Gammerdinger. Bill “Red Scarf” Gammerdinger

regionals (US) · n NATwA’s Eastern Regional and Western Regional tournaments, played from the 1960s through the early 1980s

relevant · adj describing a wink in a position where it fulfills a useful function, e.g., protecting a pile or threatening a wink or pile

Relix (US) · n a NATwA team formed from by members of the Zoo team [From Relix, a newsletter for Grateful Dead fans]

Renaissance (US) · n a NATwA team formed in fall 1976. [Named after a bookstore in Ithaca, New York]

  • 1978 Newswink 8, 12 May. The first double-quad Continentals was held at MIT on February 18-19. Six teams took part in both divisions. Defending champion and pre-match favorite Renaissance stumbled out of the starting blocks, being dealt the team’s first ever head to head defeat by oft overlooked and underrated MIT.
  • 1979 Harvard Magazine May-June. Page 37. Joe Sachs, secretary-general of the North American Tiddlywinks Association (NATwA), wore a T-shirt that had the name of his club team, Renaissance, on the front and WORLD CUP WINKS on the back.

resquidge · vi to conduct the squidge-off again between winkers whose squidge-offs were equally near the pot. also n

Rick Tucker squidger (UK) · 1½ inch diameter marbled-effect, sharp squidger, usually yellow, as sold to ETwA players during 1985 US tour; more generally, any squidger made by Rick Tucker since 1979

rim shot (US) · n a shot during which a wink bounces off the top edge of the pot

Rivendell (US) · n a NATwA team formed by Severin Drix [Named after a place described in books by J.R.R. Tolkien]

Rocinante · n a portmanteau of Rosie Wain and Andy Tomaszewski, winking partners in NATwA [From the name of Don Quixote’s horse in the novel, Don Quixote, by Miguel de Cervantes]

  • 1971 Newswink 4, April. Dear Rocinante, other freaks and N.A. winkers

roll · vi to revolve a wink over and over on the mat along its circumferential edge as a result of a shot

  • 1958 Sports Illustrated 7 Apr. Page M7. The Cambridge club has also considered spin (which it says is forward after squidging) and rolling—nothing is more frustrating than to successfully get a wink near the pot, only to see it roll away.

rotate (US) · vt to adjust a mobile, free wink by turning the wink around in its place on the mat

rotating three (UK) = (US) persimmon

rounds · n the portion of play after time expiration when a potout has not occurred . There are five rounds in the official four-color game.

  • 1997 Winking World 68. Spring. Charles Relle. Page 19. In the year 1960-1961, the time limit, already provided for in the rules, began to be introduced more generally. The Varsity match of 1961 was played to a 35 minute time limit. The refinement of having an extra five rounds at the end came in much later.

rules narg (UK) · n a winker who knows the finer points of the rules, and may be summoned during a game to explain what should happen in a particular unusual situation [see narg]. = rules judge (US)

run six · vi to pot all six winks of a color in successive shots in a single turn [First use: Newswink 14, page 13]


Sachs squidge-off · n a squidge-off style where the squidger is used in a squop-style manner; in other words, at an angle down in the direction of the shot. [Invented by NATwA winker Josef Sachs in the mid-1970s.]

safe (US) · n, adj a position for a wink on the mat where it is unlikely to be squopped

salmon pink (UK, now rare) · one of the 1½ inch diameter marbled-effect squidgers made from gambling chips in Britain in the early 1980s—many were salmon pink in color

Samson · n onetime nickname of Severin Drix in the late 1960s [named due to Samson’s locks of hair, since Severin Drix had long hair at that time.]

Schiller squidger · n a sharp squidger made and sold by NATwA winker Tim Schiller in 1973

Scottish Pairs (UK) · n ScotTwA’s annual pairs championship, held from 1993 to 1998. The winning pair was eligible to challenge the reigning World Pairs champions.

ScotTwA · n the Scottish Tiddlywinks Association. Revived in 1992; previously organized in
some form in the 1960s. As of 2004, no longer active.

ScotTwAn · n a member of ScotTwA (1994)

scrunge (UK) = bounce out (first used by ETwA’s Hull Guildhall team in 1962)

  • Winking World 4, page 11. to be scrunged
  • 2008 Winking World 90. Alan Harper. Page 28. Alas, my boyish good looks and amazing scrunging abilities weren’t enough to lure either of them away from the tropical climes they were visiting.

Sec-Gen = Secretary-General

  • 1978 Newswink 8, 12 May. At the abbreviated Congress, SecGen Joe Sachs expressed willingness to continue in the office only if regional coordinators would play an active part next season.

Secretary-General · n the principal officer of NATwA or IFTwA; the ETwA equivalent is currently called Chairman

  • 1958 The Times (London) 13 June, Page 13 Column d. The congress, which was sponsored by the Cambridge University Tiddlywinks Club, also formed an English Tiddlywinks Association and appointed the Rev. E. A. Willis, a retired Minister, of Richmond, Surrey, who has played tiddlywinks for more than 50 years, as its secretary general.
  • 1959 The News and Courier (Charleston, South Carolina) 27 February, Page 6-A, Column 5. The Rev. E. A. Willis, secretary general of the English Tiddlywinks Assn., umpired one of the games and told skeptical onlookers: “This is a game that requires a lot of skill.”
  • 1970 Newswink 2, April. Mitchell Wand, the “hard-driving intense field general of MIT” was re-elected for the third consecutive year to the post of Secretary-General.
  • 1974 The Missing Wink August. Severin Drix. Page 6. The only person from those teams that the Cornell and MIT winkers got to know at all was Mike Gottesman, the Harvard captain, who was chosen Secretary-General of NATwA when it was founded.

seduce · vt to tempt the opponent into trying a risky shot

  • Winking World 5, page 5, March 1964

self-protecting · adj said of a pile that can easily be gromped or bristoled to squop nearby opponent winks

SEPTIC · n the acronym, Society of Ex-Presidential Tiddlywinkers In Cambridge, namely the presidents of the Cambridge University Tiddlywinks Club in England

  • Winking World 90. Page 10. Ben Fairbairn. Despite the threat of a SEPTIC 7-0 in one of the first games there was no champagne until the very end with a pot-out from Stew (I think).

set · n the winks and pot

  • 1958 Sports Illustrated 7 Apr. Page M7. Even in apparently uniform sets, sometimes “borrowed from small brothers and sisters for an indefinite period,” measurement has often shown one wink is twice as thick as another.

set up · vt, vi to move a wink already on top of a pile so it is better positioned to make a future desired shot, such as potting or bristoling

sharp = thin squidger

shoot (US) · vt, vi to make a 1shot

1shot · n a squidge and the corresponding results; the act of playing a wink

2shot! · n an exclamation of commendation for a good shot

  • 1977 Verbatim Dec. Philip Michael Cohen. Page 4. shot—an exclamation of commendation for a good shot. Antonym: Unlucky. A Briticism, with some currency in America.

shot judge (US) · n a person who judges whether a shot is performed in compliance with the rules of tiddlywinks = UK umpire

  • Winking World 54. Andy Purvis. Early in rounds, Jon decided to pot out of a pile.  Dave demanded a shot judge.  Jon objected strongly, claiming that the request was purely intimidatory as the legality of the shot would be obvious.  Eventually Alan watched from a diplomatic distance as Jon made the difficult pot look easy.

Sicilian Bandit Joke (UK) · n a joke told and retold at CUTwC dinners. Also known as the President’s Joke

side-by-side (UK) = tangent (US)

sideways amigos (UK, rare/obscure) · n the act of positioning a Mars Bar traversely in the mouth prior to performing an amigos [CUTwC, 1980s]

sideways bristol · n a shot similar to a Bristol except the squidger is not held parallel to the intended direction of the wink being played

Silver Wink (UK) · n a trophy donated by Prince Philip for intervarsity university team matches [Initiated during the 1960-1961 season; trophy first awarded in 1961]

single (US) · n one person playing both sides of a partnership in a game normally played by a pair, e.g. in the Pairs

Singles · n a tiddlywinks match in which one player plays both colors of a partnership

singleton (UK) · a one-on-one squop separate from other piles

  • 2008 Winking World 90. Page 39. Matthew: ‘I don’t know why we’re all attacking this poxy singleton.’

SLU (UK) · n nickname of ETwA winker, Chris Abrams [from Scruffy Little Urchin; 1990s]

snaffle (UK) (now rare) = eat

Somerset Invitation (UK) · n an exclusive invitational tournament once held annually by Stew Sage in Chilcompton, Somerset

Somervillain · n a winker on the NATwA Somerville team

  • 1970 Newswink 3, September, Severin Drix. If in Michigan, I’d probably team up with Perlo and form one, and if in Philly, I’d play with Sunshine, while if in Boston, I’m a Somervillain.

Somerville · n a NATwA team originally based in Somerville, Massachusetts and associated with the OAK-BYTE residence

Sotwink · n an ETwA club based in Southampton

Spike · n onetime nickname of NATwA winker Carl Chenkin

sponned (UK) (obsolete) · adj said of a wink on which an opponent is kneeling or standing [first used by ETwA’s Hull Guildhall team in 1962; derived from a Goons radio show entitled “The Spon Plague”]

  • Winking World 4, page 11

squabble (UK) (obsolete) = pile

  • 1964 Winking World 5, March. Page 5.

squallop (UK) (obsolete) = vt squop (CUTwC rules, 1956)

squapt (UK) (obsolete) = squopped; squopped out (CUTwC rules, 1956)

squidge · vt, vi to apply a squidger to a wink (Winking World 1, page 4). n (rare)

  • 1959 The Times (London) 17 March, Page 12 Column d. the Bomber Command team has adopted as its motto “squidge hard, squidge sure.”
  • 1966 The Progress (Pennsylvania) 21 February, Page 17 Column 5. If you squop my wink, it’ll be a difficult squidge to score a plop.

1squidger · n the round instrument used by a winker to play winks. It may be no smaller than 25mm (formerly 1 inch) in diameter, no greater than 51mm (formerly 2 inches) in diameter, and no greater than 5mm (formerly 3/8 inch) in thickness at its edge

2squidger · n (rare) someone who squidges

  • 1962 Life 14 Dec. Page 122. It set up two-man units each with a powerful offensive squidger and a canny defensive squopper.
  • 1970 Newswink 2, April. Lee Cousins, in kilt, came a very close second and drove all the women crazy with his sporran full of squidgers.

squidge-in · n the play of a previously unplayed wink from behind a baseline on the mat. Also vi

squidge-off · n the determination of which color starts a game by shooting a wink of each color toward the pot from its baseline. The closest color wins the squidge-off. Also vi

squidging · adj, n performing a squidge; shooting a wink with a squidger in the game of tiddlywinks

  • 1958 Sports Illustrated 7 Apr. Page M6. To keep squidging muscles in supple condition before a match, Cambridge tiddlywinkers twiddle their thumbs during lectures.

1squop · vt to play a wink so it comes to rest vertically above some or all parts of another wink. n a wink that is squopped

  • 1962 Life 14 Dec. Page 121. Hold That Squop!
  • 1972 Boston Globe 24 March, Page 3. MIT’s eight-man North American championship tiddlywinks team, boasting 26 collective years of practice at squidging, squopping, and potting, is flying to England tonight in hopes of out-potting Southhampton University for the World Championship.

2squop · vt to be hit or covered by something, often violently

  • 1970 Newswink 2, April. Phil Villar, travelling alone back to Hartford, had an uncontrollable sneezing fit and was promptly squopped by a truck.

squop, Bristol, John Lennon memorial shot · n an ETwA drinking game

squop-style · adj holding the squidger at a sharp angle toward the direction of a shot

squopped · adj a wink that in whole or in part is vertically below another wink

squopped-out (US) · n a game situation in which all winks of one color (or both colors of a partnership) are squopped or in the pot = UK squopped-up

squopped-up (UK) = squopped-out (US)

squopper · n (rare/obsolete) a winker who is better at squopping in a partnership in the pot-squop game strategy

  • 1962 Life 14 December. Page 122. It set up two-man units each with a powerful offensive squidger and a canny defensive squopper.
  • 1997 Winking World 68. Spring. Charles Relle. Page 18. This was 1960, and the distinction between potter and squopper existed because double-squop strategy, in which both partners bring in their winks a view to squopping the opponents, had been invented only the year before, in Oxford.

Squopsman, The · n the official journal of the Scottish Tiddlywinks Association in the 1990s. [First issue published in June 1993. From the name of the Caledonian newspaper, The Scotsman]

squopt (rare/obsolete) = squopped out

  • 1958 The Times (London) 2 March. Page 16 Column c. The Duke’s Goons are squopted
  • 1958 Sports Illustrated 7 Apilr. Page M6. If both members of a pair have all their winks covered, they are said to be squopt.

stack (UK, especially Pinner) = gromp

StATS · n St. Andrews Tiddlywinks Society, Scotland [1990s]

stoplight · n a linear squop with three winks of the same size, one green, the next yellow, and then red

Straight, The · n Willard Straight Hall, a winking venue at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York

strategy break · n taking time between or during tiddlywinks games to partake in smoking marijuana.

streaking · n a perversion in which the goal is to pot as many winks in a row as possible without missing. See Alleghany Airlines Book Club Presents for the rules. [named after the fad, called streaking, in the mid-1970s where people ran naked outside en masse]

sub · vi, vt to shoot a wink that ends up coming to rest under another wink, thereby squopped. Also n

  • 1977 Verbatim Dec. Philip Michael Cohen. Page 4. sub or submarinev.t. or v.i. To shoot a wink (usually one’s own) under another.
  • Winking World 54. Andy Purvis. Larry and Charles were soon involved in a close game, which Charles won when Larry subbed a Bristol late in rounds.

submarine = sub

  • 1970 Newswink 3, September. In freeing my opponent’s wink at the end of free turns, it submarined under a very critical pile, of which I had control.

Sunsch = Sunshine [clipped]

Sunshine · n nickname of NATwA winker David Sheinson

  • 1974 The Missing Wink August. Page 1. Sunshine explained thing this way: “There was a forty per cent chance of us beating them if Bill played fifty per cent of the time with his left hand while handcuffed to VV’s ankle because the statistics clearly show that ninety per cent of all pairs who play handcuffed together have a thirty per cent chance of making two foot pots in the fifth round, providing of course the moon is full and they ate asparagus for breakfast.[“]
  • 1979 Harvard Magazine May-June. Page 41. The legendary figure with the late-Sixties ponytail and the bare feet, whose nom de tiddly is Sunshine.

Supreme Dean, The (US) · n nickname of ETwA winker Alan Dean

  • 1972 Newswink 5, February. Jim [Marlin] went in search of the Supreme Dean. Alan Dean, it is written, is the Secretary of ETwA and the English Singles Champion and the holder of many records and trophies. His squidger is believed to be made of gold and his fingers precise instruments capable of potting winks and squopping piles at great distances.
  • 1979 Harvard Magazine May-June. Page 41. They had a player named Alan Dean, who was called The Supreme Dean and was thought to be unapproachable in ability.


tangent (US) · adj said of two winks that are very close to each other but are not squopping each other. = (UK) side-by-side

tap (UK) = press (US)

tar baby · n a pile under your  control into which more winks become attracted and get squopped. A tactical nightmare [derived from the Uncle Remus story, Br’er Rabbit and the Tar Baby, by Joel Chandler Harris (1881); first used in tiddlywinks by Bob Henninge in 1990]

TD (US) = Tournament Director

  • 1978 Newswink 8, 12 May. In the last tournament of the great “twenty minute time limit” experiment, confusion and disorganization were widespread; trying to save some time, it was agreed that each team would play both opponents simultaneously instead of having team versus team rounds, and TD Joe was unable to keep the cogs, let alone the games, running smoothly.

TDI · n nickname of NATwA winker Saul Agranoff (The Dumb Indian)

teams of four (UK) · n the ETwA National Fours

1tempo · n an abstract measure of the positive value of a good shot compared to the potential for opponents to recover from it

2tempo · n an advantage to be gained by forcing opponent into a shot, thereby allowing yourself a turn in which to do what you want. Essentially therefore a measure of who has the initiative. Hence to gain tempo or to lose tempo [from the game of chess]

tetrad n (Relle) = quad

Thesis, The · n The Science of Tiddlywinks, a study published by members of CUTwC in 1955

  • 1958 The Times (London) 3 March, Page 7 Column d. This saying has been taken to heart by the Cambridge University Tiddlywinks Club. whose 25-page thesis on the science of tiddlywinks it prefaces.

thin squidger · n a squidger with an edge that is sharp rather than rounded. [circa 1972]

30-second rule · n a rule enacted in the 1980s in which a partnership has the option to stop the game clock after 30 seconds has elapsed since the previous shot, when the opponents have not yet made a shot

The Winks Club Mats · n the anthem of CUTwC, sung to the tune of the “Red Flag”

Thorpe’s Ring (UK) · n a pile in which all winks are squopped. A circular pile is one kind of a Thorpe’s Ring. [named after ETwA winker Geoff Thorpe]

  • Winking World 54. Geoffe Thorpe. Consider a Thorpe’s Ring situation.  One green in the pot, one free blue, and 22 winks in a circular pile.

tiddle (deprecated) · vt, vi to shoot a wink. n, adj (deprecated) = tiddlywinks

  • 1958 New York Herald Tribune 16 Jul. But the defending player tries to tiddle his wink out of danger.
  • 1962 Life 14 Dec. Page 122. The touch that won a tiddle title.
  • 1962 Ibid. and the basic cheer, “Tiddle the Wink!”
  • 1977 Youth Mar. Page 45. The small plastic discs are the winks; there is no “tiddle”.

tiddledy (obsolete) · n = tiddly

Tiddledy-Winks · n original spelling of the game of tiddlywinks. The trademark application for TIDDLEDY-WINKS was submitted by Joseph Assheton Fincher of London, England, on 29 January 1889 and approved on 15 May 1889 in England.

  • 1889 Manchester Times (England) 14 December, Page 1 Column 5 Issue 1690. Spoof, Tiddledy Winks, Flitterkins (in an advertisement)
  • 1890 Bristol Mercury and Daily Post (Bristol, England) 18 January, Page 2 Column 5 Issue 13006. The game of ‘Tiddlywinks’ proved very amusing, and ‘Lotto’ was a great favorite.
  • 1890 Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper (New York, New York) 2 August, Page 560 Column 4. The New Game! TIDDLEDY WINKS. By mail on receipt of Fifty cents. PUBLISHED BY E.I. HORSMAN, 80 & 82 William St., N. Y.
  • 1890 Worcester Daily Spy (Massachusetts) 15 September. Just Out. TIDDLEDY WINK! The most enchanting and fascinating game for young or old in the market. All the rage in Boston and New York. Price only 25c. For sale by C. F. HANSON & CO., 317 Main st.
  • 1890 Sunday and Daily Republican (Springfield, Massachusetts) 20 September, Page 8, Column 1. Tiddledy Winks.” A new puzzle in great demand, but no supply.
  • 1890 Baltimore Sun (Maryland) 8 October, Page 2 Column 4.GAMES.—TIDDLEDY WINKS, 25 CTS.
  • 1890 Burlington Hawk-Eye (Iowa) 15 October, Page 3 Columns 2. “Tiddledy Winks,” the latest craze, at Gnahn’s book store.
  • 1890 Ipswich Journal (Ipswich, England) 15 October, Page 6 Column 2 Issue 9258. I was glad the parcel contained our favourite Tiddledy-winks, which some of you already know already. We played it with partners, as suggested by the new copyright directions, and my little friends grew merry and excited. The flying counters and shrieks of laughter testified to their appreciation of this game of games.
  • 1890 Alton Daily Telegraph (Illinois) 29 October, Page 3 Column 5.The game is an effort to apply the pressure of a big ivory chip called a “tiddledy” to six small ivory chips called “winks” so as to cause them to hop, skip, jump or fly into a cup, placed at the supposed center of a circle whose circumference would pass through the middle “winks” of each player’s group as originally placed.There have been rages before, of one sort or another, but Tiddledy Winks outdoeth them all.
  • 1890 The young folks’ cyclopædia of games & sports. 7 November, Page 725. John D. Champlin Jr. & Arthur E. Bostwick. TIDDLEDY WINKS. A game played by any number of persons, singly or as partners, on a table covered with a thick cloth.
  • 1890 Atchison Daily Globe (Kansas) 10 December, Issue 4061 Column 6. The latest rage in the east is a game called “Tiddledy Winks.” There are so many games in the east that the western man comes honestly by his idea that the people back there do nothing else but take afternoon naps and play games.
  • 1890 Daily Huronite (Huron, South Dakota) 19 December, Page 4 Column 2.The Chicago Post declares that tiddledy wink will produce softening of the brain.
  • 1890 The Morning Call (San Francisco, California) 21 December. In the East it has become a veritable craze, and all social affairs are considered dull and insipid unless tiddledy winks is introduced.

tiddler (deprecated) · n one who plays tiddlywinks

  • 1958 New York Times 9 May. Is a player properly called a tiddler or a winker?
  • 1990 The Saturday Evening Post Sep. Page 66. The top tiddler of Richfield Center, Michigan, unfortunately couldn’t leave well enough alone.

1tiddly, -ies (obsolete) · n in some antique games, same as squidger. This term is not used in modern winks. (Also tiddledy)

  • 1890 GAME OF TIDDLEDY WINKS, McLoughlin Brothers. the player holding one of the Tiddledies, as shown in the illustration, presses with its edge upon the Wink and causes the latter to jump.

2tiddly, -ies (deprecated) · n = wink

  • 1970 Christian Science Monitor 9 Mar. An opponent must never blow on another player’s tiddly (in order to move it farther from the cup) when he isn’t looking.

3tiddly, -ies · n the unit of points calculated at the end of the game that are used to determine the finishing order of colors for assigning match (or game) points. For each color, 3 tiddlies are earned for each wink in the pot and 1 tiddly is earned by each other unsquopped wink in play. (May 1993 ETwA rules) = time-limit point

tiddlywink (rare) = wink

tiddlywinker (rare) = winker

tiddlywinks · n a competitive partnership game in which the objective is to gain an advantage over opponents by squopping opponent winks and by squidging friendly winks into a pot. [THis is the preferred modern spelling. The earliest known use of this spelling is 1890.]

  • 1890 Bristol Mercury (England) 15 January. Page 6, Column 4. The game of “Tiddlywinks” proved very amusing, and “Lotto” was a great favorite.
  • 1894 Contemporary Review Aug. Page 246. for when school was done and work over the children gathered in the brilliantly lit, hot-pipe-heated rooms and played draughts, bagatelle, lotto, or tiddly-winks.
  • 1926 Bookman Sep. Page 90. The great realist plays an amusing game of tiddlywinks in the north woods.
  • 1946 Christian Science Monitor 21 March, Page 22. A Reuters dispatch from Oxford reports that Cambridge University lowered Oxford’s colors in the first tiddlywinks contests between the two seats of learning by seven games to one.
  • 1956 Times-Picayune (New Orleans, Louisiana) 31 January, Page 8 Column 5. “This is not chess,” he declares. It is tiddlywinks played for morons and neutralists[“]
  • 1956 The Times (London) 10 December, Page 1 Column b. CHAMPION TIDDLYWINKS player urgently required for remunerative position. Preferably also good golfer but this is not essential. Telephone Gro. 6363 between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. to-day and ask for Flat 55. J. B. Powell-Jones.
  • 1967 Ithaca Journal (New York) 25 February, Page 20.Mighty Big Red Tiddlywinkers Dash Opponents … Good Show, Hey What?
  • 2007 Congressional Record August 3, Volume 153, Issue 127, page H9666 column 2. All we are doing down here is playing tiddlywinks with national security.

tidleywinks (UK, obsolete) · n the predominant spelling used for the game of tiddlywinks in England from the 1930s to the early 1950s.

tie · n a game score of 3½ to 3½ in the official four-color game of tiddlywinks

time limit · n the duration of time permitted for the play of the game prior to the play of 5 additional rounds. This is now 25 minutes for games with pairs, and 20 minutes for games with singles

  • 1997 Winking World 68. Spring. Charles Relle. Page 18. [In 1960] At club meetings, there was no time limit, and all games were played to a finish.
  • 1997 Winking World 68. Spring. Charles Relle. Page 19. In the year 1960-1961, the time limit, already provided for in the rules, began to be introduced more generally. The Varsity match of 1961 was played to a35 minute time limit.

time-limit point = earlier term for what is now called 3tiddly

TKOs (US) · n The Knowledgeable Ones, a NATwA team that first played in the 1974 Westerns (November), replacing Hyth

TO (UK) = Tournament Organiser

Toads · n a NATwA team (also known as Chrome Toads, Xenopus)

toucher · n a wink touching the pot [coined by Patrick Driscoll at a NATwA tournament in 2014]

Tournament Director (US) · n a winker responsible for establishing the format and conduct of a tournament. Abbreviated TD

Tournament Organiser (UK) = Tournament Director (US). Abbreviated TO

triple (US) · n a pile in which three winks are squopped by one wink

triple crown (US) · n the act of acheiving first place in the NATwA Continentals (team championships), Singles, and Pairs. [From triple crown in other sports, e.g., winning the three major US horseracing championships.]

  • 1978 Newswink 8, 12 May. In the Long Time No See Department, Bill “Cannonball” Renke played his first tournament game without a partner since winning the triple crown in 1973, due to his team having only five warm bodies capable of holding a squidger.

triples · n a variant version of tiddlywinks played with six colors and six players, with three players playing in partnership against the other three. See Alleghany Airlines Book Club Presents for the rules

tripleton (UK) = triple

Trix (US) · n a brand of breakfast cereal that in 1962 included tiddlywinks game premiums in its boxes. (Severin Drix started playing tiddlywinks with a Trix tiddlywinks set.)

  • 1974 The Missing Wink August. Severin Drix. Page 5. He [Severin Drix] knew no other winkers, had no official sets (the first equipment Cornell started with was a Trix cereal set and a scarf!)

trundle (obsolete) = gromp (Cohen, 1977)

tub (rare) = pot

  • 1971 Newswink 4, April. Each time a wink covers another player’s wink, the covering player gets an extra turn to uncover and the first player to get all his winks into the tub wins.

turnover (UK) · n = flip

Tucker two-turn · n a variation on partnership play in which two (or more) players play the two colors of a partnership, but one player plays the turns for both colors consecutively, and then the other player does; partnership play continues in this fashion. [invented by Rick Tucker in Ithaca, New York, circa 1977]

turn · n one shot, or a sequence of shots, made by the player of a color, where each shot after the first one is an extra shot resulting from a wink of that color being potted on a previous shot. Compare with free turns

Tw · abbreviation for tiddlywinks

two minute rule · n rule enacted in the 1980s, but rarely enforced and later dropped from the rules, in which a partnership has only 2 minutes to play a shot in rounds, after which time the shot is forfeited

two-ply · adj said of a tiddlywinks mat made of two plies of felt, one light gray, one off-white, available from the early 1960s to 1973


ULU (UK) (obsolete) = sub [abbreviation of the University of London Union]

umpire (UK) = judge, especially when the matter in question is whether or not a wink is squopped

unlucky (UK) · a friendly proclamation by a fellow winker that a shot did not achieve intended results

unsquopped · adj a wink that is not squopped; it may be a free wink or it may be an unplayed wink behind the baseline

unsupported mat · a portion of the playing surface that is not over, and is therefore not supported by, a table

  • Winking World 54. Jon Mapley. Acceptance of the American ruling that winks resting on unsupported mat over the edge of an under-sized table should not be penalised by the forfeiture of a shot.

up = free, said of winks that are unsquopped and in play


Varsity Match (UK) · the CUTwC vs. OUTS teams match

Visine shot (US) · n a shot in which a red wink is squopped. [from Visine, an eye care product, which advertised that it “gets the red out”.]


Walmsleys · n a British supplier of winks and squidgers until the 1980s

warp · n a property of some older (Walmsleys) winks in which one part of the wink had more concavity than the rest of the wink

waste (UK) = lose or boondock

Wessex Trophy (UK) · n competition inaugurated in 1988 for two large, amorphous teams chosen on the morning of the tournament from amongst those present; held in London. Also known as the Wessex Cup

Western Regionals (US) · n an annual NATwA teams tournament, generally held in November at either Cornell or in Toronto. The Westerns were held from 1970 to 1980.

  • 1971 Newswink 4, April. The first Western Regionals were held at Cornell University the weekend of Nov. 21-22 [1970].

WETS (UK) · n the Wessex Exiles Tiddlywinks Society in England

wiggle (US) · vt to make a miniscule adjustment to a wink on a pile

Willard Straight Hall (US) · n a winking venue at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York

Willis, Rev. E. A. (Edgar Ambrose) · n the first ETwA Secretary-General and a dominant personality of the CUTwC club in the 1950s

1wink · n a disk played in the game of tiddlywinks

2wink · vi to play the game of tiddlywinks

winkdom · n the sphere of tiddlywinks activity in the world

  • 1977 My Winkly Reader February. Page 3. Has winkdom become a felt jungle where jackals with sharp squidgers pounce on weekend squoppers to pad their egos and averages?

winked out (US) · adj fatigued due to playing tiddlywinks

winker · n a tiddlywinks player. (Winking World 1, page 1)

  • 1977 My Winkly Reader February. Page 1. Will you always be a winker?

winking · adj playing tiddlywinks

  • 1977 My Winkly Reader February. Page 2. Do you expect to be winking in 5 years?

Winkly Reader = My Winkly Reader

Winking World · n an official publication of ETwA, first published in February 1961

winksmanship or winkmanship · n the craft of playing tiddlywinks well

  • 1969 Newswink 1 April. There were some tense and exciting matches, but the superior winkmanship of the MIT ‘A’ team enabled them to take the trophy for the second year in succession.

winks · n 1. the game of tiddlywinks. 2. plural of 1wink

  • 1893 EXHIBIT OF GAMES IN THE COLUMBIAN EXHIBITION, Jul-Sep. Stewart Culin. Page 209. The comparatively new game “Tiddledy winks” follows, leading up to a recent German game called the “Newest War Game”, in which the men or “winks” are played upon a board upon which are represented two opposing fortresses.
  • 1971 Newswink 4, April. Phil Villar. We agree the name should be changed to Winks as that is how it has been referred to here for many years.

Winks Rampant · n a document by Guy Consterdine, published in October 1972, describing the development of modern tiddlywinks in England from 1957 to 1958; also used to describe anything that portrays many winks.

  • 1958 The Times (London) 3 March, Page 7 Column d.The Cambridge players wore dinner jackets and ties embroidered with a tiddlywink rampant.

winx = winks [variant spelling, popularized by Canadian winkers in 1978 but also appearing earlier]

  • 1977 My Winkly Reader February. Page 1. This was the summer when the trend of returning to the ancestral homeland began in the winx world.

World Masters · n a match restricted to winkers who have won a World Singles championship match

World Pairs · n a world championship match for pairs players in which the current world champion (or a national Pairs winner) is challenged by a national Pairs winner. The match is won by gaining the most match points in seven games. The World Pairs has been held since 1978.

World Singles · n a world championship match for singles players in which the current world champion is challenged by a national Singles champion. The match is won by gaining the most match points in seven games. The World Singles has been held since 1973.

WOY (US) · n abbreviation for Winker of the Year

WP = abbreviation for World Pairs

Written Word · n a tiddlywinks publication by Joe Sachs that appeared in July 1978

WS = abbreviation for World Singles

WW = abbreviation for the ETwA publication, Winking World


xylophone shot (UK) · n a shot, usually illegal, in which the squidger is dragged across three or more winks that form a linear squop.

  • Winking World 50, page 14


Yvonne F. Lukey Memorial Award (US) · n a mythical NATwA award

  • 1970 Newswink 2, April. We are contemplating presenting a trophy to NATwA to be known hereafter as the Yvonne F. Lukey Memorial Trophy.
  • 1971 Newswink 4, April. Every year, the Mythical Yvonne F. Lukey Memorial Award is given to the player who succeeds in making the most improbably shot of the Continentals tournament.


1zero · n the set of turns (the zeroeth round) occurring after the time limit for a game has been reached and before the first round of five rounds begins with the squidge-off winner’s color. Also zeroeth adj

  • 1972 Newswink 5, February. The turning point of the match occur[r]ed in the 0th round when branch leaders from Philly and Boston met and held a trade.

2zero · n, the score awarded to the loser in a pot-out where the winner potted both colors out before the opponent could. Also v (zeroed)

Zoo (US) · n a NATwA team originating at MIT, first playing in the 1972 HOTT (October), later becoming Relix

Send your latest winks words akimbo to Rick Tucker for the next edition of the Lexicon of Tiddlywinks. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *