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In sports like ping pong and snooker we use the word spin (e.g. top spin).

What is the French equivalent of this word, which is also used frequently in sports like snooker and billiards?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Donner de l'effet (à la balle, la boule ou la bille) would probably be the most natural translation. To be more precise one can use “donner un effet de rotation”. The result would be une balle qui a de l'effet, beaucoup d'effet, etc.

Physicists could also use “donner du moment”, but this would not be understood by laymen.

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Il me semble que le terme "balle brossée" manque a cette réponse. – Dominique Jacquel Aug 14 '14 at 7:09
  • The spin the ball has¹ is “l'effet (qu'elle a)”. “Giving it spin” is as Stéphane mentions “(lui) donner de l'effet”.

  • If you're saying the ball spins, you'll say “(elle) tourne”, from the verb “tourner”. For a wheel, the spin, as a noun, will be “un tour”.

¹ If that's correct English wording, which I slightly doubt.

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