Quick Guide to Lacrosse Slang Terms | Lax Goalie Rat

Quick Guide to Lacrosse Slang Terms


A parent emailed me the other day with a question on lacrosse goalie lingo –

One question, how did you come up with the “rat” moniker? For me as an old guy, doesn’t seem to totally fit with the quality of your material.

Perhaps the older generation isn’t aware of the slang term – a lax rat – one whose life is consumed by lacrosse. So naturally, I am the lax goalie rat.

This got me thinking of all the lacrosse slang terms that are out there today. There’s a list going at e-lacrosse.com (edit: I’m not sure what happened to e-lacrosse.com but the site doesn’t appear to be live anymore. Link removed.) but that one is missing some tasty gems, like ‘crispy with the rock’. That one also has a lot of non-slang terms mixed in like “assist”.

Today’s post is a fun one. A quick guide to understanding lacrosse slang terms old and new.

Real quick – if you’re new to this site, let me give you a quick intro. I write about lacrosse goalies – tips, drills, mindsets, coaching, and general advice all for lacrosse goalies, goalie coaches, and those interested in learning more about being or training a great goalie. If that sounds good to you – join my email list here.

Lacrosse Slang Terms

One caveat on slang terms – they change constantly and some are completely region specific.

When I was growing up as a kid in California, we used the word “Rad” (meaning cool or awesome) all the time. “That’s so rad!”. But I haven’t used nor heard that word in years, except in rad 80’s movies of course.

All that to say this list of lacrosse lingo may or may not be accurate given when and where you’re reading this.

Here is the full list of alphabetized lacrosse slang terms that either I know, used, have heard or have read about:

  • ATW – Around the World: similar to BTB except the stick is wrapped around the opposite direction and the shot comes from over the shoulder of the shooting hand. Scored a goal on a sick ATW last game. 
  • Backbreaker: a trick shot where the stick is held by both hands above the head and the ball is shot underhand and behind the back AND between the legs.
  • Bag / Sack / Bagged Out: the lacrosse stick pocket, a very deep one. How do you throw with that bag? 
  • Bar Down: A shot that pings off of the bottom of the top cross bar and ricochets on a steep angle toward the ground into the goal. Essentially the perfect shot that all attackman are trying to achieve. They passed it up top for a 12 yard shot and he went bar down. Here is bar down in visual form:

  • Ball Hunt / Egg Hunt / Pill Hunt / any slang word for ball + Hunt: a practice ritual where players search for lost balls in the grass, woods, bushes, etc.
  • Black Hole: a ball hog. Don’t throw it to him, he’s a black hole. 
  • Boarding: In indoor box lacrosse, checking an opposing players against the boards. Usually a penalty.
  • Brave Heart:  Where two players from each team take the field, a goalkeeper and a middie. The two middies face off and go one on one full field until one scores.
  • BTB – Behind the Back: any shot or pass that you throw over the opposite shoulder of the shooting/passing hand.
  • Bucket / Lid: Helmet. Bucket is also used to refer to the old style of lacrosse helmets with the laces in the back.
  • Buddy Pass / Hospital Pass / Murder pass / Star pass: a pass that is lobbed high and/or slowly through the air such that the recipient is crushed by defenders as he receives it.
  • Cage / Rack: the goal. Take it to the rack. 
  • Cannon / Crank / Frozen Rope / Rope / Lazer / Howie (howitzer) / Beam: a hard shot. That dude has got a cannon.
  • Celly – Celebration. That attackman did a sick celly after scoring. 
  • Cheap it (Cheap the ball) / Gilman: Slang for clearing the ball from the defensive end with a long random pass into the offensive end.
  • Cheap Shot: A late and/or dirty hit or check. He gave him a cheap shot after the whistle. 
  • Coast to Coast: When a defender or goalie carries the ball the length of the field and scores a goal. Same meaning as basketball.
  • Crispy with the Rock: describes a player with precise feeding/shooting ability
  • Cup Check: teammates tapping on a protective cup to prove that it is there. Also slang for a shot that hits a defender or goalie right in the groin.
  • Dime / Dish / Apple: A great pass or assist. He threw me a BTB dime right on the crease. 
  • Dirty / Baller: Used to describe a very good player. That attackman is dirty. 
  • Dive: A play where an offensive player leaves his feet and lands in the crease in the attempt to score a goal. Recently made legal in 2019 in NCAA.
  • Door Step: Area right above the crease. Fed the attackman right on the doorstep. 
  • Dust / Dusty:  unskilled defensive player. Can also mean old or outdated. I wear the smallest elbow pads possible because anything else is dusty. 
  • Fish / NARP (Non-Athletic Regular Person) / Scrub: Unskilled player. Give me the ball I’ve got a fish on me. 
  • Five Hole: In between goalie’s legs.
  • Flow: Long hair in the back that flows out of the helmet.
  • FOGO – Face Off / Get Off: Slang for the specialty position that faces off and then substitutes out. Dude is the best FOGO in the league.
  • Freshie: New ball.
  • Gamer:  Your stick that you use in games. This is the stick you actually use in a lacrosse game as opposed to your backup stick. I use my backup stick on rainy days, but this one is my gamer. Gamer can also mean a player who always steps up in big games. That dude is such a gamer.
  • Garbage Goal: A goal scored in an unsettled situation like on a rebound or loose ball in front of the goal.
  • GLE: Goal Lind Extended. An imaginary line extending out from the goal line to the sideline.
  • GOAT: Greatest of all time. Queener is the GOAT. 
  • Goal Mouth: Introduced in 2019, an area in the crease (marked with lines) that the attackman cannot land in if they doing a dive else the goal is disallowed.
  • Golfing It: making a shot like a golf ball.
  • Goon Squad: guys on the bench that never play and always screw around.
  • Goose (Goose it): slang for flipping the ball (ice hockey style) from the ground to a teammate.
  • Grandma Goal: When the ball hits the outside of the net and no one but your grandma yells “NICE GOAL!”
  • Hatty: Hat Trick: 3 goal game. Double Hatty / Sock Trick: 6 goal game. Trip Hatty: 9 goal game.
  • Hold: like whip but from the sides
  • Hoover: A ground ball machine. A player adept at winning possession on loose balls.
  • Ice pick: A check thrown “stabbing” downward with the butt of your stick
  • Indian Pick-up / Baltimore Crab: a method of picking up a ball by rolling the top inside of the scoop over the ball, starting it moving in that direction, while turning the head under the ball quickly to collect it in one motion. Native Americans used this style of pickup given that their sticks had no scoops.
  • Kayak: One of the harder and less useful checks to throw. Wrap your stick, butt end first around a guy for the check.
  • Lax: Short for Lacrosse
  • Laxing: Playing lacrosse
  • Lax Bro:  Short for “lacrosse brothers”. A member of the lacrosse brotherhood. Someone who fully embraces the culture of lacrosse.
  • Lax Rat: Player who eats, breaths, and sleeps lacrosse.
  • Laxtitute: Derogatory slang term for a female lacrosse fan interested in the male lacrosse players.
  • Lettuce / Cabbage / Flow: long hair out the back of the helmet. For the best of the best in terms of flow you’ll want to checkout Bro Bibles All Flow Team. That dude’s got more lettuce than a Whole Foods salad bar. 
  • Loosie: Nickname for a loose ball.
  • Lumber (Lay some lumber): slang for a strong defensive check and the impact of that check.
  • Naked: Wide open. He was naked on the doorstep. 
  • Paddington Bear: Fat goalie.
  • Peanut Butter: Goal on the top shelf, cause that’s where mom keeps the peanut butter.
  • Pearls / Cupcakes / Dougie Fresh / Fresh Rocks: brand new white lacrosse balls
  • Phantom Check / Ghost Check: the mysterious loss of ball control
  • Pillow / Popcorn / Egg / Gumball / Muffin: A soft shot that’s an easy save for the goalie. Thanks for the popcorn!
  • Pinwheel / Helicopter / ‘Copter: When a stick gets checked out of the ball carrier’s hands so that it flies into the air spinning like a pinwheel or a helicopter.
  • Pipe City / Wesley Pipes / Pipe Dreams / Jesus Pipes / Michelle Piper: Hitting the post on a shot.
  • Plunger:  a Face-off move where you half clamp the ball (45 degrees) then keeping right hand on ground raise left hand and butt end of the stick. This distorts the sidewalls of the head of the stick trapping the ball like a plunger.
  • Possession Shot: A shot way over the goal “on purpose,” to ensure possession to the team.
  • Rake: trying to pick up a ground ball by putting your pocket over the ball and pulling backward quickly
  • Ride the Pine: To be on the bench.
  • Rip Twine: A goal
  • Rip: Shoot particularly hard. He absolutely ripped that one. 
  • Rocks / Pills / Bullets / Cookies / Nut / Nuggets / Rock  – lacrosse balls
  • Rusty gate: a check that involved spinning a full 360 degrees and checking them with your back turned
  • Sauerkraut – Ugly flow
  • Second Bar Syndrome / SBS – Those who suffer from lack of tilt and are actually looking out of the 2nd bar of the helmet instead of the first.
second bar syndrom
My man is suffering from some serious SBS
  • Settled: Even, 6 on 6 play
  • Shiners / Greasers / Slick Ricks / Butterballs / Marbles / Dusty Rocks: an old used lacrosse ball that has been warm down so much that it’s greasy and shines.
  • Shortside: The side of the goal closest to the shooter. Opposite = far side.
  • Sick: Good, nice. Sick pass dude. 
  • Steeze: Style plus ease.
  • Stick Ninja / Stick Doctor: Player who is good at stringing sticks.
  • Stuff: Close range save by the goalie.
  • Tennis Racket: A pocket that is shallow, or not broken in enough and doesn’t have much hold. The ball bounces right out of there like a tennis racket.
  • Tilt: wearing your helmet so that it is angled down towards the ground. Bros got some serious tilt.


Tilt and Flow! It’s magical!

  • Top Cheddar (aka Top Ched) / Top Cheese / Rip Top Swiss / Premium Gouda / Rip a Duck / Rip Tits / Top Shelf: Shot that scores in the top part of the goal. Ripping the top part of the goal has become so popular these days that this element of slang has taken on a life of its own. Stemming from Top Cheddar, really any cheese variety can be used to refer to the top quadrant of the goal.
  • Turf Monster / Turf Sniper: The unseen beast that causes players to trip and fall by themselves when playing on turf. i.e., vicious check from the turf monster. Bro got hit by the turf sniper.
  • Turn ‘N Rake: The action a goalie must do after getting scored and picking the ball out of the goal.
  • Twizzler: A backhand scoop shot more popular in the women’s game.

Matt Hasselbeck’s daughter executing a sweet Twizzler:

  • Walk the Dog / Pizza Oven / Carry the Pizza: when a player runs down the field carrying the ball in their stick way out in front of them in one hand with their arm extended, and holding the bottom of the shaft. This keeps the ball in the head of the stick without needing to cradle and to avoid checks from behind.
  • Wand / Spoon / Twig: Lacrosse Stick
  • Whip: the pockets ability to “pull” the ball down. A stick with too much whip will be very hard to throw with.
  • Wizard / Dangler: Player who has good stick skills.
  • Worm Burner / Carpet Burner / Toe Jammer: Underhand low to low shot that skims above the ground.
  • Yard Sale / Yahztee / Detwigged / De-Spooned / De-Wanded: when a player gets their stick checked out of their hands.
  • Yellow: Commonly used to tell the offense to slow down so that the team can sub middies through the box.
  • Zebra / Stripes: Referee

Lacrosse Slang


There you go. Just a quick list of all the lacrosse slang and lingo that I know.

Any of your favorite lax slang terms not make the list? Let me know in the comments.

Until next time! Coach Damon

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28 thoughts on “Quick Guide to Lacrosse Slang Terms

  1. This is bugging me! What is the slang term given to a lax player that only really passes/shoots by their dominant hand?
    As is, in a defensive setup a defender will communicate to the rest of their team when the player they are up against (who has the ball) will not be a threat off hand.

    1. Great question. Our team didn’t really have a slang term for someone with no off hand. Would just say ALL LEFT or ALL RIGHT when the dude had the ball. But if you think of it, definitely let me know.

  2. maybe add – swing or spin when you want the offense to move the ball across the field usually to less defended side. weak and strong side – weak being the opposite side where ball is usually around goal. Making up houdini’ed – fake flip pass that fakes out defense, goalie, and camera man that ends in a score (like navy at the beginning of 2017)

  3. You had pipe city, but you’re missing bar down: a shot where the ball hits the bottom off the crossbar and glides down the back of the net.

  4. Gazoo- when a players helmet looks way too big on their head. (Like the alien from The Flintstones).

    Godzilla, Zilla, I think He’s turning Japanese- when an attackman shoots while keeping his elbows next to his body, usually from right on the doostep.

  5. Great list! Thank you for creating it. I’m sharing it with my son and his teammates immediately!

    My son often uses “nutmeg” to reference shooting the 5-hole. Typically used as a verb, i.e. “Chad just nutmegged the goalie with that wormburner!”

    I recently saw the term “procrease” used on Urban Dictionary to describe a high skill/artistic maneuver that leads to making a shot, i .e. “That attackman made such a procrease move! It was a thing of beauty.”

    1. Haha thanks! Used to use ‘nutmeg’ during my youth soccer days. Didn’t realize folks use that one in lacrosse too but makes total sense. Never heard that ‘procrease’ one before.

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