What associations do we have when we hear or read the word ‘snooker’? Firstly, it is a fantastically beautiful game of billiards, also called “chess on green baize”. Secondly, it is a first-year cadet at the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich. Can someone please continue?

The term “snooker” has been employed in various contexts and with diverse meanings in the press and in books since the early nineteenth century. Its association with the game and the cadets is unclear. The origin of the name for the game with fifteen red and four coloured balls is uncertain, with multiple versions proposed. Even if the Woolwich cadets were responsible for the name, the question remains as to why they were named that way. The questions are numerous, and there are as yet no answers.