Speak Ultimate! The Commonly Used Terms&Definitions

Whenever someone new joins the team they don’t only have to understand the basics of the game. They get to know the whole culture behind the game…and it’s very own language. Sadly, you won’t find it on Duolingo. There are certain terms that you need to learn as a rookie player and with time it’s going to get easier! If you want to clear up some confusion check out the definitions. I’m going to update this post often with the missing words known to the Ultimate Frisbee world.

The confusion with Ultimate language often manifests during your first season. Your teammates may forget that there are all these things you need to learn. They may try to explain what you did wrong on the field. You may find yourself nodding your head and wondering “what the hell are they talking about?!”.

After a moment you’re going to remember some of the words and put together what it all means. You might as well ask for an explanation, but let’s face it… There’s not much time for that when you’re playing. You either have to google it…or deduce it! Then you finally get it.

Let’s check out the definitions. No more speculations!

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z


While forcing a player with a disc, you prevent them from throwing a certain direction. A break occurs when you fail to prevent them from throwing to the guarded side.


A basic, standard throw in Ultimate, which is often used even by non-Ultimate players. You can read more about it in another post.



A rare and prestigious play in Ultimate. It’s a catch made by a defensive player when they are marking in their end zone. It’s often a result of a mistake when the offence makes a swing or a dump pass. Make sure to always catch a disc when you’re near your end zone!

Clear Out

When someone tells you to clear out it means that you should sprint back to the stack. That way you’re not clogging the line and another player will be able to catch the disc in the open field.


It happens when someone gets in the way of other players who are trying to cut. When you know that you’re not going to get the disc you should clear out and get back to the stack.


It’s called when a “foul” occurs between two players. As there are no referees in Ultimate, the players need to resolve the issue on their own. It usually ends with a re-do when a “fouler” denies that they wronged the other player and contests the foul. Besides picks and travels, anything can be contested.


When an offensive player runs they make a cut. It’s done to run away from the defender and the thrower to passes a disc which won’t result in a turnover.


One of the main offensive positions in Ultimate Frisbee. A cutter is a person, who has to catch the disc at all costs. They need to cut and get open for the handler to throw the disc. While cutters don’t need to make perfect throws, they need to be comfortable with catching. They need to run fast and know some basic plays.


Short for defence or defensive play. You can often hear people yelling “Nice D!”


“Disc-In” is yelled either by the defensive or offensive player to let the others know to start moving. When the disc goes out of bounds, a foul or an interference happens, the player holding the disc has to tap the disc to the ground to resume the play.

Double Team

When you’re holding the disc only one player can be within 3 meters (10 feet) from you. That’s usually the one stalling you. If another person is within those 3 meters you can call “double team” and the stall count restarts.


When the stall count gets high it’s good to start looking for a dump throw – a short pass upfield. It’s good for resetting the disc or moving it away from the sidelines.


The thrower makes a dump pass to another person. Then another person cuts to the other side of the field for a quick pass. This kind of play makes more room to cut and helps in moving away from the sidelines.


Flipping the disc

It’s like a flipping of a coin. The captains of both teams flip the disc to determine who takes which side of the field. The winner of the flip decided if they want to play offence/defence or which side of the field they will start at.


The main goal of forcing is to make the offensive player throw a certain direction. You can force forehand or backhand.



When the cutter catches the disc out of bounds and throws it back in bounds. The cutter has to be in the air while throwing in order for it to work.

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It’s one of the two offensive positions in Ultimate Frisbee. The handler should master at least three main throws: backhand, forehand and hammer. Their job is to move the disc to the cutters to move up the field. Handlers usually stay back while cutters try to get an open position.


The type of a tournament where players join individually instead of as a team. The organisers create the team based on skills of the individuals. You can read about that more in a post about Types of Ultimate Frisbee Tournaments.



When the offensive player is running towards the thrower for a chance of getting the disc.


You can throw an inside out backhand or an inside-out forehand. The first one goes to the right and curves to the left. It’s harder to throw it when someone is marking you. The second variation makes it possible to throw the forehand to the left side of the field.



Mark is a person you have to guard during the game. Your job is not to let them get the disc and escape them at all costs to get to the disc when you’re playing offence.


When you hear your teammate yell “no break” in case there’s a player open to get the disc on the guarded side. You should make sure not to let the disc pass.


A player admits that he fouled the other player and the game continues as if there was no foul.

No Upline

When someone on or off the field screams “no upline” you should make sure to stop any upline cuts.


Short for “offence” or “offensive”.


When an offensive player is running away from the thrower to catch the disc further down the field.


When another person or people get between the defensive player and the person that they are guarding. It only applies when the defender is less than three meters from the other player when the pick takes place. When the pick occurs the play stops. The defender is allowed to walk up to the offensive player and the thrower taps the disc. The play continues. If the disc is in the air when the pick is called – catch it. If the disc is on the ground during the pick – it’s a turnover.


A defensive player leaves the person that they are guarding and guards the throwing lane instead.


The throw, which starts each point (unless you play indoor,  then it just starts the game). The defensive team tries to throw it as far as possible down the field. If you touch the disc during a pull and drop it, it’s a turnover.


Savage (playing savage)

It means that a team has to play without any substitutions and a chance to rest (outdoor – 7 players, indoor – 5 players).


When two opposing players jump to catch the disc and one of the players jumps higher and makes the catch.

Spirit (Spirit Of The Game)

SOTG rates if there was a good spirit during the game on the field. It encourages fair play and mutual respect between the players. It’s best described at USA Ultimate.


A play a very common play used by the teams. It’s the most crucial play to know. The examples of the strategy are the Vertical and Horizontal Stack.


A stallout happens when the defender stalls the thrower for 10 seconds and a turnover occurs. Only the person who stalls can call a stallout.


A foul call. When a player catches the disc and it’s knocked out of their hand by an offensive player. The disc is considered in control only when the rotation of the disc stops.


A throw to someone on the opposing sideline. It’s very common when the field is clustered by both teams and the other side of the field is vacant.


A player while holding a disc can’t move with it. It’s allowed to slow down if the disc was caught while running. The thrower has to establish a pivot foot. A travel occurs if the pivot foot lifts off the ground before the throw.




A turn or turnover happens when the offensive team loses the possession of the disc due to a drop, a stall out, an uncontested foul, or a defended pass.


It’s what the offensive or defensive players call when the disc is up in the air to let the other team members know that the throw was made.



It’s called in many situations. It’s sort of a word that describes that someone did something illegal – handing the disc, throwing objects on the field.



It’s a defence strategy where players guard a certain area of the field instead of just one person.


That’s it for now and if I missed something (oh, I definitely did!) let me know and I’ll update the Ultimate glossary. I’m probably going to update it once in a while. For now, I’m really happy to have it finished and I hope this post helps a bit. 🙂

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