quote:. that must be where the slang term "being snookered" originated.
That's right. If you put the cue ball in a position that means your opponent cannot play a legal shot, you get four points and have "snookered" him or her. It is often used metaphorically to mean that someone has been placed in an invidious position, with no obvious way out.
Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
I may be all wet, but isn't there a subtle difference between "being snookered" (or duped) and being "behind the eight ball" (or in an unfavorable situation). Yet, the way arnie describes being "snookered," it really seems to be imply an unfavorable position (like checkmate....which my husband has done to me far too often! ), which I guess can be extended to being duped.
Perhaps the expression "being snookered" has a subtly different meaning in the US. Over here we wouldn't use it to mean duped, only in the sense arnie used it - to be put in a difficult or impossible position.
"No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money." Samuel Johnson.
In my mind, being "snookered" means being left with no way in which to proceed. Being "behind the eight ball" is being the target of a fairly easy or obvious attack. The first term reflects the unfavorable offensive position of the person in question, the second reflects the unfavorable defensive position.
I recall that the rule is that your cue-ball has to hit the object ball first, or else. If it hits any other ball first, the shot is invalid and there is a penalty, called a "scratch." (One of several kinds of scratch, I might add.) Worse yet, the penalty for "scratching off the eight-ball" is losing the game outright then and there, no matter how far ahead you might have been to then.
"Behind the eight-ball" thus means having a very difficult (and risky) next shot, a highly undesirable position indeed. Offensively speaking.
I meant that the snooker term and the eight-ball term had similar meanings of being placed in a disavantageous or impossible situation. Snooker, the verb, also seems to have acquired another slightly different meaning of being tricked into that situation, but not so behind the eight ball saying.