Dirty Pool

I almost used this expression in an ongoing thread as a response to signify “bad move” or “nasty trick” or words to that effect.

I didn’t use it (didn’t even reply at all – just came here with this idea) because I was curious if it might suggest a swimming pool in dire need of a cleaning.

My memory of it was in pool (the billiards type) there were ways to cheat or get an advantage that was deemed “dirty pool.” I can’t remember any of them offhand. Thus this thread.

Did you use the term for such a meaning? Ever hear it used that way?

It generally means something underhanded, and I’ve always taken it to come from billiards.

Dirty pool, bad form, not cool bro, all pretty much means the same. It’s not exactly cheating, but it’s not exactly sportsmanlike either. I’m fairly sure it does come from the tabletop game, but it’s surprisingly tough to find an authoritative kind of cite.

ETA: Aha, Google Books to the rescue.

Thanks to you both, twickster and Bosstone, for confirming it’s not just a regional term.

I wish I could recall what it was I used to try to get past Ben Chen (Chinese classmate) who was as close to a pool shark as we had at the Y. Whatever it was, he was always saying “dirty pool” almost every time I shot. Hell, I had to do something! He was too good.