Lacrosse Terms: The Best Lacrosse Dictionary for Beginners! (2023 Update)

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Developing a strong understanding of lacrosse terms and phrases is essential for any beginning player. Whether you're just starting to learn the game or have played for years, an expansive knowledge of lacrosse language deepens your connection with many aspects of the sport.

With that in mind, we've created this comprehensive dictionary exclusively for lacrosse players! So grab your sticks: it's time to explore all things linear lobs, long poles, and more.


Take Away Key Points:

  • There are multiple lacrosse slang and terms necessary for a better understanding of the game
  • You can find the most common terms in the list below
  • They are beneficial for beginners, as well as pro players

A Wholesome Guide to Lacrosse Slang and Terms: Take Your Notes!

If you're not entirely sure what specific abbreviations, slang, and terms mean in lacrosse, don't worry. You can learn all the crucial terms with the dictionary-like list below.

1. Frequently used lacrosse terms

Frequently used lacrosse terms

Here is the all-inclusive list of the most common lacrosse slang terms used. You can easily understand the coach and his team shouting from the sideline.

An alley in lacrosse - A narrow lane on each side of the field from the end to the restraining line. Players have the ball in the alley after a penalty resulting in the loss of possession of the ball or after an out-of-bounds.

Alligator Arms – A negative lacrosse term used when a player shoots with his arms tight to his body vs. the fully extended arms. Players can generate more shooting power with their arms fully extended.

Assist - A teammate passes the ball to his teammate, and it leads directly into the opponent's netting.

Ball Hog – Refers to somebody who only looks for his shot. The player doesn't want to pass to an open teammate who is in a position to score. Such players are most common in youth lacrosse. It's a negative lacrosse term. A ball hog negatively affects the overall team performance (it prevents movement and easy goals).

Ball Hunt – A ball hunt occurs when everybody searches for all the lacrosse balls after practice due to many missed shorts and poor passes during the beginner and intermediate lacrosse sessions.

Black Hole – Same as a ball hog. Once a ball reaches a black hole player - the player is, for instance, in the black hole, and the ball never comes out again to another teammate.

Body – Coaches tell their defensive players to use their bodies to push out an offensive player. They should rely more on their bodies than stick checks because a strong and large offensive player might run through.

Body Checking – Refers to hitting an opponent with your body. For example, players might only hit their opponent within three yards of the ball. They cannot hit them from the back. Body checking is illegal for young players.

Box Lacrosse – This is a Canadian version of the game played indoors. It's specific, as you can play the ball off the wall. This game is excellent for learning how to protect your stick, shoot within a limited period, and score in confined spaces. It's also an excellent off-season activity for lacrosse players.

Buddy Pass – Refers to a soft looping pass. It's easy to pick off by opposing players. Another variant is to get killed by a charging defender when reaching for this weak pass. Lacrosse passes must be accurate and hard.

Clamp – Refers to trapping the ball with a lacrosse head during a face-off.

Clear – Refers to getting the ball out from the defensive half of the field and into the offensive half, for instance, a goalie clear.

Cleats – Refers to specific shoes with spikes that players use to play on grass fields. They offer better traction than regular sneakers.

Cradling – Refers to a technique used to keep the ball in the lacrosse stick when running and similar actions.

Crease – The circle around the goal that the offensive team isn't allowed to enter.

D-Middie/Short Stick Defensive Midfielder – A D-middie is a short-stick midfielder specializing in playing defense. The player often replaces a better offensive midfielder with a weak defensive strategy as the ball transitions to the defensive end of the field.

Defender/Defensemen – The three players staying on the defensive side of the field. They focus on preventing or blocking n opponent's shot, stripping an opponent of the ball, pushing out opponents, and cooperation with the goalie.

De-Twig – Refers to a stick check knocking an opponent's stick out of his hands, and the crosse has fallen to the ground.

Dominant hand - A player's more reliable hand.

Double team - When two defenders attack a ball carrier

EMO - extra men opportunity; opposite to man down.

Face-Off – Refers to starting the game after each goal or quarter. The opposing players fight to gain possession of the ball and better control of the ball during the face-off.

Failure To Advance – Refers to a penalty assigned when a clear fails to move across the midfield line within a given time.

Feed – A player passes/feeds his/her teammate for a score. It's the goal assistance of an offensive player with the ball to his team member cutting to the cage.

Fiddle Stick – Refers to toy sticks. Kids should use real sticks instead of toys when practicing.

FOGO – Refers to Face Off Get Off players. A FOGO doesn't apply as a regular midfielder and serves for the face-off.

Freshie – Refers to a brand-new lacrosse ball.

Gilman – Refers to a desperation clear when a defender or a goalie chucks the ball as far down the field as possible, attempting to get it into the offensive side of the field. If a goalie cannot find an open teammate, he can perform this technique.

GLE - Goal Line Extended - It's a line that extends from the sides of the goal (imaginary line). Defenders attempt to prevent an attacker from crossing this line, as an attacker cannot shoot at the goal behind the netting.

Goalie – Goalkeeper preventing shots on at the goal. He's a vital team member. But, unfortunately, he might be hit by a ball running over 100 mph.

Ground Ball – A loose ball on the ground. If you win control of the ground ball, you might win the game.

Hole – A defensive area in front of the goal.

Long Pole – A long pole is a long crosse used by lacrosse defensemen and LSMs. In contrast, attackers and midfielders use short sticks.

LSM – means Long Stick Midfielder. This is a defensive midfielder armed with a long stick.

Low to High Shot – A player shoots underhand with the head of the stick near the ground. The ball is aimed at the top part of the goal. The player seems to shoot low (so the goalie bends down to stop this supposed low shot), but he angles the shot upwards and scores in the top part of the goal.

Man-To-Man Defense – Defensive end picks up and sticks with individual opponents to prevent them from scoring a goal. It's the opposite of Zone Defense.

Man-Down – A Man-Down Situation is when one team serving the penalty plays with one less player for a set period.

Man-Up – Opposite to the previous one, a Man-Up Situation is when a team has a plus player, as the other team loses a player for a set period.

Middie – Refers to the midfielder. A lacrosse middie must be fast and have excellent athletic skills because he plays on both the offensive and defensive sides of the field.

Middie Back – When a defender crosses the midfield line with the ball, a midfielder must stay back to maintain three defenders and the goalie in the defensive end.

Midfield Line – The line diving the field into offensive and defensive ends.

On-ball - A defender guarding the ball carrier, or a player with possession of the ball

Off-ball - Any player without a ball or defending a player without a ball.

Off Hip – Off hip on a goalie means the primary focus for offensive players. A goalie must stop a ball shot at his "off hip" side. It's hard as he is often crossing his arms. The goalie moves his stick to that spot, but it takes too much time.

Off-Sides – A penalty because players are not on their side of the field. More than six players are on one half-off-sides, and there are now fewer players on the opposite side of the field.

Overhand – When a player shoots with the stick above his head. These shoots are ideal for beginner coaches, being more accurate than a sidearm shot.

Paul Rabil – Paul Rabil is the most famous player in lacrosse.

Penalty Box – A box where a player serves his penalty time. He must stay confined until his time is up and he can play again.

Pick/Screen – When a player takes a stationary position to block an opponent to free a teammate for a shot or a pass.

Pinnie – A lacrosse practice uniform. Often reversible with dark-colored content on one side and light-colored content on the other side.

Rake – Children stop and pull a ground ball back with their lacrosse sticks. They should push through the ball & scoop up the ball on any loose ground balls to continue with the game.

Release – Marking word for a player in the penalty box so that he may return to the game. One minute is up, and he can go back to the field.

Sag - A defense with on-ball players playing o more than twelve meters, helping off-ball players to remain in an eight-meter area.

Shortie – Refers to a player with a short pole. Coaches look for offensive players to go against shorties on the other team. A player with a shorter pole is easier to move around than a player using a long pole.

Sidearm Shooting – A child fires the ball from the side instead overhand. It's more powerful but less accurate than an overhand shot.

Slashing – A foul where a player swings his stick and hits another player - their helmet, for instance.

Slide – A defenseman leaves his position or player to help another defender (if the other defender is beaten by an offensive player).

Stubbie – Refers to a shortcut down the lacrosse stick. It serves to practice proper positioning by defenders. In addition, it helps children to learn not to rely on their sticks for defense but to use their bodies to push out or block their opponents.

Top Cheddar – Shouted by players when a fast shot scores on the top part of the goal.

Top-Side – When an offensive player attempts to get above a defender into the middle of the field for a better percentage shot. A defender tries to prevent an opposing player from getting the top side.

Transition - Moving the ball from the defensive side to the offensive one.

Tripping – When a player makes a foul and trips an opposing player.

Turf Monster – A joke when a player trips over in a turf field.

Turf Shoes – Specific shoes for indoor players.

Twizzler - Popular in a women's game, marking a backhand shot.

Wall Ball – This is an excellent training tool for practicing alone. Players use a wall to practice catching, shooting, and passing.

Warding – An illegal technique where a player moves his free arm to block an opposing player's stick and does a one-arm cradle.

Worm Burner – Low-to-low underhand shots. They skim along the ground and score in the lower portion of the netting.

Zone Defense – Instead of playing man-to-man defense, players take defensive positions based on the zones around the goal.

2. Lacrosse stick terms

Below you can find the stick terminology.

Lacrosse stick terms

Pocket Pounder – A tool used to build a deeper stick pocket in the mesh of the lacrosse stick. A deeper stick pocket helps with ball retention, etc. But, when the pocket is too deep, it might cause a penalty.

Head – The plastic upper portion of a stick. Used for catching the ball.

Offset - The angle at which the head's top is curved.

Scoop - The top part of the head for scooping up the ball.

Throat - The width between the lower curved part of the head to catch the ball.

Pocket - The mesh or stringing in the head that directs, holds, or catches the ball when shooting or passing or shooting.

Sidewall Strings - Nylon strings on both sides of the head determine the depth of the pocket.

Sidewall - either side of a stick head.

Stick Check – A legal defensive technique for a player who uses his stick to stop an opposing player (poke checking).

Short Stick – This is a stick that attackers and modifiers use. It is shorter than the sticks carried by defenders and LSMs.

Shaft The metal part of a lacrosse stick that a player grasps. Usually made of composite metals, titanium and aluminum.

D-Pole – Refers to a long stick used by lacrosse defensemen. It isn't allowed for younger players. A d-pole is also known as a long pole. A d-pole has a long reach, while players can hide or protect the short stick.

Crosse - another name for a stick.

Cross Check – Refers to an illegal check where a player uses the shaft of his stick to check his opponent.

Butt or Butt-End – A butt-end or a butt is the end cap at the bottom of the lacrosse stick. Players and coaches call the bottom of the crosse the butt-end of the stick.

3. Offensive player terms

Offensive player terms

Below are the most common terms for offensive players.

Attack/Attackmen – Refers to three players staying on the offensive half of the field and focusing on scoring goals.

Bar down in lacrosse - Refers to the shot that pings off of the bottom of the top crossbar and ricochets on a steep angle toward the ground into the goal. All attackers tend to achieve this shot.

BTB (Behind the Back) – This is an advanced shooting technique where a player passes or shoots the ball behind his back.

Cut – Refers to an action when offensive players cut towards the goal (trying to elude a defender) to receive a pass and hopefully score.

Dodge – Refers to various moves to bypass opposing players to pass or score.

Elevator Shot – Also known as a riser shot, it refers to an advanced shooting technique involving shooting with a low sidearm or shooting underhand. The ball rises from this low position to score at the top of the netting.

Five Hole – The open space between the goalie's legs. A sharp attacker can score the five-hole strategy by shooting between the goalie's legs.

Fast Break – Refers to action when the offense has a man advantage. A player or players are racing upfield with the ball and pass by defenders. It often leads to a scoring opportunity, as it's a transition game. Teams must practice fast break drills.

Face dodge - face dodge combines stick and foot movement, and the stick goes across the face to deceive the defender in which direction the player with the ball is going.

Go To X – X position in lacrosse marks the place behind the goal, and coaches shout to the attackers to be there.

Garbage Goal – Refers to a rebound or loose ball in front of the goal. A ball bounces loose from a goalie, and an opposing player picks it up right before the net and scores. An offensive team must be ready for such a scoring opportunity.

Ride – When an offensive player rides an opposing defensive player with aggressive series of stick checks to maintain possession of the ball and force a turnover. He must play defense to stop the ball from getting into the offensive zone of the field.

Rip - a fast, hard shot.

Screening - An offensive team player attempts to block the goalie's vision so his teammate scores.

Set play - An offensive strategy for the offensive team to get the possession and score.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a lacrosse ball called?

A ball doesn't have a term. It was called a stickball in the past, but since 1860, it has been called a lacrosse ball.

what are some lacrosse terms

What does goose mean in lacrosse?

It refers to kicking the ground ball to your open teammate instead of picking it up. 

What does fish mean in lacrosse?

The term refers to an unskilled player or a non-athletic regular person.

What does GOAT mean in lacrosse?

The GOAT means the greatest of all time.

What does lettuce mean in lacrosse?

Lettuce refers to a person whose hair flows out of the back of a lacrosse helmet.

What is 2 bar syndrome in lacrosse?

lacrosse terms slang

The term refers to fixing the new helmets, to wearing them correctly. So, the young players often peer through the two bars of the face mask when they fix the new, unused helmets.

What is an apple in lacrosse?

The term refers to an assist.

Why is lacrosse called LAX?

LAX is an abbreviation for lacrosse, as the beginning part of the word is LA, and the remaining part is crosse, usually marked with an X. Thus, the abbreviation stands as the LAX.

What is a free shot in lacrosse called?

A free shot is also known as a free position.


If you're new to lacrosse, learning some basic terms is undoubtedly worth your time. It helps you better understand the game and gives you a leg up when talking to experienced players and coaches.

But do you know all of the terms on this list? What other lacrosse terms would you add to the dictionary?

Freddy Woods

Freddy is the heart and soul of Lacrosse Runner. As a former athlete, Freddy is very passionate about Lacrosse. He keeps up with the sport's changes and innovations and often tests the new equipment released by the leading manufacturers. Read more here