Definition of Behind the Eight Ball

What does the term "behind the eight ball" mean? What is the definition of the term "behind the eight ball"?

There are various opinions as to where the term "behind the eight ball" precisely comes from, but the generally accepted train of thought is that it refers to the difficult position of having the cue ball trapped behind the eight ball in a game of pool. You are not allowed to hit the eight ball first in pool, unless you have made all of your group. So, if your cue ball is trapped behind the eight ball, you are left with a very difficult shot.

Definition and Illustration of Behind the Eight Ball - DictionarySo, to be "behind the eight ball" means to be in a very difficult position.


A young man decides to hold a party at his parent's house while they are out of town.

The party is much bigger than he anticipated, which results in a much larger cleanup.

The young man who threw the party has three hours to clean the house before his parents arrive home. All of his friends have deserted him, which means that the young man must clean the house by himself.

This young man is "behind the eight ball", as he is in a very difficult position.

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