I'm a programmer and like to name my variables as accurately as possible (who knows who will be reading my code in a few years' time?)

I've been thinking about sports video games recently, and have thought about the idea of a generic sports game engine. Most sports games have an arena, crowds, a playing surface and players. They also have a puck, ball, discus, javelin, etc. and this has me wondering: What is a generic term for this object? Something that could transcend all sports.

Edit: Since it seems there may be no exact term for this type of object, I'd gladly settle for some sort of analog.

  • 2
    Would the arrow in archery belong in this group?
    – Mitch
    Jul 22, 2011 at 20:46

5 Answers 5


How about the "mark" - meaning a target?

  • This is a really good one too.
    – Soviut
    Jul 22, 2011 at 21:46
  • 6
    Usually the puck or ball is not the target. The puck or ball is the projectile that is aimed at a target, such as a net or goal.
    – oosterwal
    Jul 22, 2011 at 23:22
  • @oosterwal I was using mark as more of a generic term. Here is a contextual example, which I could have included originally - "keep your eye on the mark", and "target" meaning the target recepient object of some action, for example, hitting with a bat.
    – Rachel
    Jul 24, 2011 at 3:42
  • I agree with Rachel. I wasn't talking about the goal/net, I was talking about the puck/ball/golden snitch. The object that is neither player, nor implement, but the device which can score a goal/point/etc.
    – Soviut
    Jan 19, 2012 at 11:26

Use "projectile." This covers anything that is thrown, hit, shot, hurled, tossed, etc.

  • Actually, this isn't far off! Congrats!
    – Daniel
    Jul 23, 2011 at 14:36

There isn't one. Just use "ball" and have some comments.

  • 2
    True but disappointing. Soviut, the English language has failed you! ;)
    – Daniel
    Jul 22, 2011 at 11:59
  • I guess that's why I prefer programming languages then ;)
    – Soviut
    Jul 22, 2011 at 18:46

Since the item you are talking about is usually what two or more people fight for mastery over, what about something like object of contention?


Good question. In Finnish we call any puck, ball or similar by the general term "peliväline" but there seems to be no English translation for this. I´m surprised!

Literal translation would be maybe "game device" or "sport apparatus"

I´m not sure either is helpful because they´re not really used.

  • Well, peliväline can be used for this, but it is not limited to just the "projectiles" - even the New Dictionary of Modern Finnish gives the example ~"Sticks/bats and other [game devices]". Jan 9, 2017 at 19:21

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.