When something bounces against or ricochets off a surface, that's called a carom. You might enjoy watching the bumps and caroms of the bumper cars at the fair more than actually driving one.

Carom is a verb, too, so you might describe a pinball machine this way: "When you push the buttons, flippers hit the little silver ball, which caroms around the machine, bouncing off the bumpers and kickers." The original meaning of this word is also one that's still in use — it's a game similar to pool or billiards, played on a table with no pockets. It comes from the Spanish word carombola, "the red ball in billiards."

Definitions of carom

n a glancing rebound

Type of:
backlash, rebound, recoil, repercussion
a movement back from an impact

n a shot in billiards in which the cue ball contacts one object ball and then the other

Type of:
shot, stroke
(sports) the act of swinging or striking at a ball with a club or racket or bat or cue or hand

v rebound after hitting

“The car caromed off several lampposts”
Type of:
bounce, bound, rebound, recoil, resile, reverberate, ricochet, spring, take a hop
spring back; spring away from an impact

v make a carom

Type of:
throw or propel in a specific direction or towards a specific objective

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