Because pétanque originated in France, many of the terms used are French. The list below includes many of the commonly-used terms.
* À carreau – A special feat in which the shooter knocks the opponent’s boule out while leaving his boule at or very near the point of impact.
* L’ Arbitre – The Umpire.
* (les) Boules Lisses – Boules that have no rings or stripes cut into their surface. Many shooters favor this kind of perfectly smooth boule for an easy release. A lighter boule with a smaller diametre also helps a shooter reach their target.
* (les) Boules Quadrillées – Boules that have a large number of stripes or rings cut into their surface. This kind of boule is often favored by pointers. They have been nicknamed “pineapples” and with a certain amount of backspin can stop right in front of the cochonnet if placed well.
* (un) Bras d’or – (golden arm) – A compliment given to a good player.
* Doublette – Game composed of 2 players per team, with 3 boules per player.
* Faire le bec (to give a light kiss) – Targeting one of your team’s boules already in play and knocking it toward the jack.
* Game on the Ground – One team is lying in a match-winning position while an end is still in progress and will win unless their opponents change the situation.
* (un) Gratton – A stone or bump on the piste (court) which deflects an otherwise well thrown/rolled boule.
* Have the point – To have one or more boules placed closer to the cochonnet than those of the opponent(s).
* Le Cochonnet – The small target ball. The word literally means little pig or piglet.
* Le Jack – Another term for “cochonnet.”
* Le Rond – The throwing circle, traced in the ground or formed by a plastic ring.
* Le Terrain – The piste or court.
* Tirer – throwing with the purpose of hitting and displacing an opponent’s boule, called “shooting.”
* Le Tireur – the shooter
* Mettre fanny – (to fanny) To beat one’s opponents 13 to 0. The figure of a bare-bottomed gal named Fanny is ubiquitous in Provence wherever pétanque is played. It is traditional that when a player loses 13 to 0 it is said that il/elle est fanny (he/she is fanny) or il/elle a fait fanny (he/she made fanny), and that he/she has to kiss the bottom of a girl called Fanny. There is usually a substitute picture, woodcarving, or pottery so that Fanny’s bottom is available. More commonly and fun, the team which made “fanny” has to offer a beverage to the winning team.
* Pile (ou face) – The French for Heads or Tails. The person tossing the coin often calls either “Pile” or “Face” him/herself before throwing it in the air and catching it on the back of their hand and covering it. Sometimes, if he/she is being particularly polite, they will give the other side the call.
* (la) Piste – The part of the terrain on which the game is to be played. A court if made with man-made materials.
* Plombée – To throw one’s boule in a high arc so that when it lands it only rolls minimally, preferably taking the point nearest the cochonnet.
* Pointeur – A player who specializes in pointing or placing his boules as close as possible to the cochonnet.
* Pointing – To throw one’s boule with the intent of stopping near the jack also called placing.
* (un) Porte-Boules – a carrier for a set of boules.
* Shooting – To throw one’s boule at one of the opponent’s boules to knock it out of play and away from the cochonnet. This is often done when the opponent has pointed their boule very close to the cochonnet.
* Tête-à-Tête – One player playing against another; a singles game using 3 boules per player.
* Triplette – Game composed of 3 players per team, with 2 boules per player.
* Un Mène – An “end” or round. There are as many ends as necessary to reach thirteen points and win the game.
* Un Milieu – A player whom can point or shoot equally well.
* Le Millieur – In triplette (triplets) usually the middle player, between the tireur and pointeur, who may point or shoot as circumstances require.