This Glossary needs to be updated as more terms and acronyms are added to our pipes and tobacco lexicon daily.

An interested read on this subject is Ben Rapaport's article, My Manifesto: A Plea for Plain Talk (Spring 2019)


Acorn: A pipe shape characterized by a conical shape sometimes extending to a point or near point below the shank or else with a bent shank flowing into the "point" of the acorn shape. Distinguishable from a dublin by a wider and more rounded rim in most cases.

Acrylic: In pipe parlance, acrylic stems are those made of polymers of acrylic acid or acrylates, most often polymethyl methacrylate, also called acrylic glass. Some prefer this material for pipe stems due to the lack of oxidation, while others prefer a traditional vulcanite stem due to softness.

Aging: The term used to describe the tendency of pipe tobacco to improve over time through either aerobic or anaerobic fermentation. The term is used interchangeably to describe increased sweetness on the part of Virginias, mellowing on the part of Latakia, or a generally more complete melding of the blend. The effect is often simulated through the use of heat or pressure.

Agonya: A type of Turkish tobacco of a kabakolak leaf type, meaning it has distinct stems with "wings" on the leaf stems, Agonya was originally grown in the foothills below Xanthi, but is now grown south of the Sea of Marmara, in the region east of Kanakhale, Turkey.

Air-cured: Air-cured tobacco is hung in well-ventilated barns immediately after plants are cut or leaves pulled from the field and allowed to dry for a period of one to two months. During this process the yellow colors of the leaf turn to varying shades of brown, until they are ready to be fermented and processed. Burley is an air-cured tobacco.

Amber: Prior to the wide adoption of vulcanite, first invented in 1844 by Charles Goodyear, as a substance for pipe stem making, by far the most common form of pipe stem was one carved from amber. The stems were carved by hand from fossilized tree resin, at which point they could be bent only after heating in oil and over an alcohol flame. While amber is a beautiful natural material which comes in a large variety of colors, the stems are exceedingly brittle and hard on the teeth. Amber stems are still made only in very rare cases.

Apple: According to the A.S.P. Pipe Parts Charts by Bill Burney, the classic apple shape is a rounded version of the billiard, and may be had in either bent or straight shanked and tapered and saddle stemmed versions. Popular variations of this shape include the Prince and Author.

Aromatic: A type of tobacco which is either cased or top flavored in order to produce a taste and room note other than the tobacco's natural smell, whether simply sugar or molasses, whiskey or other alcohols, or many other flavorings. Used as a major category for pipe tobaccos, along with non-aromatic and latakia based blends.

Army Mount: Also called a "military bit", a pipe with an army mount stem is designed to permit the stem to be removed from the pipe while hot by inclusion of a shank cap, often made of silver, to reinforce the briar. A more elaborate variation of the army mount is the spigot. According to most likely mythological history, the first army mount was invented when a World War One soldier fixed a broken pipe shank by inserting a spent rifle casing into it and piercing a hole for the stem.

An Army Mount Pipe

Author: According to the A.S.P. Pipe Parts Charts by Bill Burney, the Author is a beefed-up prince, featuring a flattened ball-shaped bowl and a heavy 1/8 to 1/4 bent stem.


Bafra: Bafra is a district and village in the Samsun province of Turkey, and the name sometimes given to the Samsun-Maden strain of tobacco, which is a smaller basibali Turkish varietal with low nicotine and a rich flavor.

Ball: The ball shape, also referred to as a tomato, is described by the A.S.P. Pipe Parts Charts by Bill Burney, is very similar to an author but with a spherical bowl and thinner shank. According to Mr. Burney the ball generally features a tapered stem with a 1/4 to 1/2 bent.

Ballerina: A pipe shape originally created by Bo Nordh and resembling a ballet dancer's foot while en pointe, curving from the heel at the front of the bowl to the toe at the meeting of bowl and shank, itself characterized by a full enough bend to permit the pipe to stand on its own.

A Bo Nordh Ballerina

Bakelite: A trade name for Polyoxybenzylmethylenglycolanhydride. Harder than vulcanite and softer than acrylic, bakelite stems do not oxidize. Largely seen in shades of white and amber yellow.

Basma: 1. The group of Turkish small-leaf varietals in which the stem of the leaf does not extend beyond the leaf at the main stalk 2. The larger leaves primed from the middle of any variety of Turkish tobacco plant 3. A long, rectangular bale-style of packing cured Turkish leaf, approximately 50-60 pounds, of any variety.

Bead: Now generally represented by two straight lines around the bowl of a bulldog or rhodesian, a bead is one of only three shapes which can be produced on a lathe, along with a flat and a cove. A bead is a rounded projection from the wood, and in the case of pipes today most beads are cut as inset beads, in that the surrounding wood is level with the top of the bead. Older pipes occasionally featured intricately carved beads. Today, however, rather than cutting a true bead the projection is left flat and only signified by the lines around it.

Bent Pipe: A generic term used to refer to any pipe where the shank is not a straight horizontal line, regardless of the nature or amount of the shank bend.

Billiard: The A.S.P. Pipe Parts Charts by Bill Burney describe a billiard as a pipe shape having a cylindrical bowl and tobacco chamber with a shank about the same length as the height of the bowl. Variations on the billiard shape include the pot and chimney.

Basibali: A family of Turkish tobaccos characterized by a distinct stem separating the leaf from the stalk. Sometimes referred to as Bashi Bagli.

Bit: A less than precise term, usually used to refer to the entirety of the stem or mouthpiece on a pipe, but occasionally also used to refer to the bite zone.

Bite Zone: The last approximately three quarters of an inch of the mouthpiece or stem of a tobacco pipe, including the button.

Bloom: Also referred to as plume, bloom is a fine white powder which appears on well aged tobacco on occasion, and despite the tendency to confuse it with mold is actually a good sign that the leaf is maturing well. Bloom is caused by the crystallization of sugars on the surface of the tobacco leaf.

Blowfish: Per the A.S.P. Pipe Parts Charts by Bill Burney, the blowfish is a pipe shape characterized by an asymmetrical flattened ball for a bowl, a bent stem blending into the body, and a combination of birdseye grain on the large panels and straight grain between.

Brandy: Also referred to as a bent brandy or brandyglass, a pipe shape which resembles the glassware for which it is named. According to the A.S.P. Pipe Parts Charts by Bill Burney, the pipe is characterized by a rounded base tapering up to a smaller rim, often in a 1/4 bent pipe.

Briar: Actually a mistranslation of the French bruyère, briar among pipe smokers refers to the wood of the erica arborea, a species of flowering plant in the heather family. After 30 to 60 years of growing time, the football sized plants are harvested, cooked, dried for several months, and further processed before they are made into pipes.

Bullcap: According to the A.S.P. Pipe Parts Charts by Bill Burney, the bullcap is a squat straight rhodesian with a large bowl diameter.

Bulldog: According to the A.S.P. Pipe Parts Charts by Bill Burney, the classic bulldog has a tapered stem, diamond shank and slightly forward canted bowl shaped someone like two cones joined at the bases with the top cone cut off. The pipe is traditionally adorned with a bead around the bowl.

Bullmoose: According to the A.S.P. Pipe Parts Charts by Bill Burney, a bullmoose is a squat rhodesian with a very heavy 1/4 bent stem.

Burley: A tobacco of light-colored variety grown primarily in Kentucky and Tennessee, the bulk of burley tobacco produced in the United States is used for cigarette production. All burley today is of the white burley variety, and is often sweetened due to the low natural sugars present in the leaf. Most aromatics use a base of burley due to its ready ability to absorb flavors. While some claim burley does not age, it does improve with time. However, this takes time measured in the several decades at least.

Burnout: A term used to refer to a possible condition in estate pipes which, short of extraordinary effort on the part of a capable restorer, generally means the death of a particular pipe. A burnout is a spot where char has actually penetrated or begun to penetrate the outer layer of the bowl. Usually caused by hot smoking, although some claim burnout is always the fault of an unseen flaw in the briar. Uneven packing can also result in one spot suffering more damage than others. While most smokers stop smoking a particular pipe when burnout begins to appear, some continue smoking until they have burned straight through a wall or the foot of the pipe.

Button: The button is the raised portion at the end of a pipe mouthpiece or stem intended to permit the teeth purchase to hold the pipe.


Cake: Cake refers to the buildup of residual carbon that forms in the bowl of a pipe. Most recommend trimming back the buildup to keep it at roughly the width of a dime in a briar pipe in order to create a protective layer which cools the pipe and reduces moisture. Cake is frowned upon in meerschaums, and the subject of much debate among corn cob pipe smokers.

Calabash: According to the A.S.P. Pipe Parts Charts by Bill Burney, the calabash is a solid wood interpretation of the gourd calabash with a tapered bowl flared at the rim and a dome shaped top. The tobacco chamber is usually tapered and the pipe 3/4 bent, but there are variations.

Canadian: According to the A.S.P. Pipe Parts Charts by Bill Burney, the canadian is a long-shanked billiard with an oval shank and a tapered bit. The shank is roughly twice as long as the height of the bowl. Variations on this shape include the lumbermand, lovat and liverpool.

Captain Warren: According to various sources, the Captain Warren is a distinct pipe shape and type - a hybrid between a hawkbill and a cherrywood shape, with a rounded heel that extends at least half as much below the point of where the shank meets the bowl as the upper half. It has an underbore system (or double chimney), where the draught hole opens into a lower chamber below a screw-in bowl. The shank is roughly as long as the stem. The shape is clearly defined in the 1895 Harrod's catalogue, under Cigars, Cigarettes, and Tobacco Department, on page 136. The shape is also included in the Gisclon pipe factory catalogue (Lille, France) in 1870. The name's origins are unclear, though some speculation has placed the name as possibly referring to the English archaeologist Charles Warren, who carried out excavations in Jerusalem during that period. However, a British Navy Captain Warren who came up with a new design for a cooking stove, where a separate inner chamber cooked the food, surrounded by a steam chamber, called "Captain Warren's System of Cooking" may have had a part in the naming of pipe type, described in the Nautical Magazine and Naval Chronicle, in March, 1868.

Casing: Whether sprayed with or soaked in a sauce, casing refers to the addition of flavoring, sugar or the like prior to the finishing of the tobacco, as opposed to top-flavouring, which is added by spraying the finished blend with scents and flavours.

Cavendish: There are two forms of Cavendish, which is more a process of curing and a method of cutting tobacco than a type of it. Common cavendish is made when tobacco leaves are pressed into a cake about an inch thick and heated before being allowed to ferment, resulting in a mild and sweet tobacco. Flavoring is often added before the leaves are pressed. English Cavendish uses a dark flue or fire cured Virginia , which is steamed and then stored under pressure to permit it to cure and ferment for several days or weeks.

Char: Used to refer to wood that has actually begun to burn, usually at the start of a burnout in a bowl or, far more likely and most often due to lighter abuse, at the rim.

Cherrywood: According to the A.S.P. Pipe Parts Charts by Bill Burney, a cherrywood is a bent poker. The name cherrywood derives from the pipe shape's origin as a copy of the cherry wood pipes made by Eugène-Léon Ropp and others in mid-19th century France.

Churchwarden: According to the A.S.P. Pipe Parts Charts by Bill Burney, the churchwarden is the only pipe defined by the shape of its stem, rather than its bowl. Whether bent or straight, the stem on a churchwarden is 9 to 18 inches long, but not so long as to make lighting the pipe while holding it in the mouth impossible.

Cigar Leaf: A generic term used to describe a great many different types of leaf primarily used in cigars which are also included in pipe tobacco. Connecticut Broadleaf and Cuban-Seed Varietals are frequently used among others to add flavor to a blend.

Many thanks to Missouri Meerschaum Company for their Underwriting support

Cob: The common parlance for a corn cob pipe, which in its loosest definition is simply any pipe with a bowl made from a dried and drilled corncob. Traditionally fitted with river cane stems, most modern cobs have wood shanks and plastic bits.

Coin: A term used to refer to a single slice of tobacco cut from a rope or twist, and resembling a flake, except that it is round and often thinner.

Cumberland: Called brindle by Dunhill and others, cumberland is a form of vulcanite made with brown and red pigment added to the rubber to give it a marble like appearance.

Curly Cut: A term used to refer to tobacco which has been sliced from rope or twist tobacco into thin "coins", similar to flakes excepting that they are thinner and round.

Cut: Pipe tobacco may be cut as shag, ribbon, flake, plug, rope, discs, coins, or in other forms. These terms simply refer to the manner in which the finished product is reduced into a small enough size to consume. The most common cut is ribbon cut.

Cutty: According to the A.S.P. Pipe Parts Charts by Bill Burney, a cutty has a very canted tulip shaped bowl and a slightly bent stem with a tapered bit. The word cutty simply means "cut shorter". Cutty pipes occasionally and traditionally sport a "spur", or a small foot protruding from the base of the bowl.

Czech Tool: Also called a 3-way pipe tool, a combined tamper, shank clearing tool and dottle spoon on a single rotating rivet. Called a Czech tool for the original country of manufacture of most of the tools, they are largely Chinese made today.

A Czech Tool.


Delayed Gratification Technique: Or DGT, the habit of some pipe smokers to light a pipe and leave it to sit for hours or even days before completing the smoke. Many blends gain a far different taste profile from this technique which some find pleasant.

Delphin: A variation on the Ulmer pipe where the shank runs directly up the back of the bowl and there is no gap between the bowl and the shank.

Delrin: A brand name for polyoxymethylne or POM, also called acetal, polyacetal, or polyformaldehyde, delrin is a thermoplastic used by pipe makers as a material for non-integral stem tenons, and for screw-in tenons for meerschaum push/pull connections. Delrin is appreciated as a "self-lubricating" material, meaning that it has a low drag coefficient to interfere with the smooth passage of smoke, and for the ease of reliance on separate stems and tenons.

Devil Anse: The name of a notorious West Virginia Confederate veteran suspected of murdering Asa McCoy after the war ended and starting the infamous Hatfield/McCoy feud. Devil Anse Hatfield was portrayed in a recent television series by Kevin Costner, who, despite the lack of any historical support, smoked a nosewarmer cutty in the role, now popular and given the name of the character.

Diplomat: According to the A.S.P. Pipe Parts Charts by Bill Burney, a diplomat is a pipe shape similar to a prince but a bit larger generally and with an oval shank and stem.

Djebel: Sometimes referred to as Xanthi-Djebel, Dejebel tobacco is grown closer to the ridge, or djebel, of the Rhodope mountains above Xanthi. While the leaf is probably of the same strain as Yaka leaf, it is much less highly regarded.

Don: A pipe shape, according to the A.S.P. Pipe Parts Charts by Bill Burney, similar to a Duke but with a rudimentary shank and a vulcanite bit. Sometimes, such as by Peterson, called a tankard.

Doppelpfeife: A variation on the Ulmer shape hallmarked by two separate bowls, evidently intended to permit a smoker to mingle the tastes of two different tobaccos.

Dottle: The leftover plug of unburnt tobacco and ash left in the heel of a pipe bowl after smoking. Dottle is avoided by smokers as a waste of tobacco and occasionally souring of the bowl, but is sometimes unavoidable.

Drama: A sweet type of tobacco with a natural olive oil fragrance grown on the Southern slopes and foothills of the Rhodope Mountains in Greek Eastern Macedonia, and taking its name from the town of the same name. A kabakolak variety, meaning that the leaf has a distinct separate stem similar to basibali, but with "wings" on its leaf stems.

Draught Hole: Also Draft Hole, the point at which the airway enters the bowl of the pipe, preferably in the center back of the heel to avoid leaving excessive dottle.

Dubec: 1. The smaller leaves from the upper portion of any variety of Turkish tobacco plant 2. A round package of cured Turkish leaf of any variety, approximately 25-30 pounds in weight.

Dublin: According to the A.S.P. Pipe Parts Charts by Bill Burney, the dublin is a pipe shape with the same proportions as a billiard but with a conical bowl and tapered combustion chamber.

Duke: A Dunhill pipe shape that features a cylindrical bowl with no shank, a bone or vulcanite stem and a poker-type canted bottom, according to the A.S.P. Pipe Parts Charts by Bill Burney.


Ebonite: The brand name for a very hard rubber first created by Charles Goodyear by vulcanizing rubber for prolonged periods, Ebonite was named for its intended purpose, a replacment for ebony. Commonly referred to as vulcanite in pipe parlance, vulcanite is with acrylic one of the two most popular materials from which stems are made.

Egg: According to the A.S.P. Pipe Parts Charts by Bill Burney, the egg is usually but not always a bent pipe with a bowl shaped like an egg, which can be thought of as an elongated apple shape.

Elephant's Foot: A pipe shape originally created by Bo Nordh and characterized by straight grained side panels and wide front and back domed surfaces on the bowl exhibiting birdseye.

English: Aside from the obvious geographical uses, the word "English" is often used among pipe smokers to refer to blends with latakia in them. In reality, however, the term only developed to differentiate blends made in the United Kingdom, especially in the days of the now defunct Tobacco Purity Laws, which prohibited humectants and most flavorings from being added to the tobacco. A more precise term is "latakia based".

English Cavendish: The name commonly used to refer to dark flue-cured or fire-cured Virginia tobacco which is steamed and then pressed over a period of several days to weeks. It is not flavored as other forms of Cavendish generally are. Rattray's Dark Fragrant is one example of an available English Cavendish blend.

Eskimo: According to the A.S.P. Pipe Parts Charts by Bill Burney, a pipe shape by Tom Eltang created as a variation on Ed Burak's bulldog design and sporting a smooth, flat stem and shank with a canted, domed bowl.

Estate Pipe: A previously owned pipe, whether smoked or un-smoked.


Fill: A void, pit or flaw in the briar which is made level with the surface of the pipe with either putty or a mix of briar dust and cyanoacrylate glue and which, despite staining, is often visible on close inspection.

Fire Cured: Unlike flue cured tobacco, which is cured by indirect heat without smoke, fire cured tobacco is cured with smoke, in the tobacco equivalent of barbecuing. Dark Fired Kentucky and Latakia are both fire cured, and the process results in lower sugars and higher nicotine in the leaf.

Flake: Flake tobacco is made by slicing thin sheets off of a cube, which in turn is formed by pressing whole tobacco leaves into a compressed form, usually under significant pressure for long periods of time. Flake tobacco may be sold in slices, or fully or partially broken or rubbed out.

Flue Cured: Flue cured tobacco is cured by heat without smoke, generally by being hung from sticks in a barn exposed to heat from external fires through flues. Traditionally the method for curing brightleaf tobacco, this method results in sweeter leaf with lower nicotine.

Foot: The bottom of the outside of the bowl, as opposed to the heel, which is the bottom of the inside of the bowl.

Freehand: Not to be confused with the fixed freehand shapes made by some companies, a true freehand shape is defined by the pipemaker's choice to let the grain of the briar shape the pipe, rather than forcing the pipe into a predetermined shape, according to the A.S.P. Pipe Parts Charts by Bill Burney.


Gesteckpfeife: Literally "pipe in parts", a traditional European pipe made up of several interconnecting parts, usually held together with cork tenons. Bowls can be meerschaum, briar, or porcelain, commonly.

Ghost: A ghost is the taste or smell of a previously smoked tobacco remaining in a pipe and coloring the taste of a different blend smoked in the same pipe. Generally the cause of tar in the shank, but usually blamed on cake.

Gourd Calabash: According to the A.S.P. Pipe Parts Charts by Bill Burney, a gourd calabash is a pipe made from a calabash gourd which is dried and the seeds removed, and then fitted with a stem and meerschaum bowl cap. The driest and smoothest of all pipes.

Gravity Fill Method: Also called the Three Step Method, this is the method of packing a pipe most often taught to new smokers, and involves drizzling enough tobacco into the bowl to cover the heel, tamping very lightly, followed by drizzling tobacco to the rim twice and tamping after each time, with more pressure the on the last.


Hand: A hand is a bundle of tobacco tied at the end and hung from the knot for curing purposes.

Hawkbill: According to the A.S.P. Pipe Parts Charts by Bill Burney, the hawkbill is a pipe shape characterized by an enlarged ball or tomato style with a long, tapering bent shank. The premiere example is the Castello 84.j

Heel: The heel is the bottom of the combustion chamber, the inside of the bowl.

Horn: According to the A.S.P. Pipe Parts Charts by Bill Burney, the horn is a graceful freehand shape varying from a straight tapering tube to a more standard bent pipe, but in all cases with a smooth tapering from bowl to shank and no abrupt transitions.

The Horn Shape

Hungarian: More commonly referred to as an Oom Paul, the Hungarian is a fully bent billiard named for former South African President Paulus Kruger, according to the A.S.P. Pipe Parts Charts by Bill Burney.


Intricate Curve: In pipemaking, a term sometimes used to describe the transition from the rear wall of the bowl to the top of the shank.

Izmir: A type of Turkish tobacco with rich flavor, low nicotine, and cool smoke. It has a very aromatic nature and is often blended with Latakia to somewhat subdue this property. Primarily used as a condiment with pipe tobacco, but occasionally offered by itself. Also called Smyrna.


Jar: Tobacco jars have been used for nearly three hundred years as the predominant method for storage of pipe tobacco, whether made from tin, wood, pewter, porcelain, majolica or bisque. By far the most common choice is the simple Ball jar or Mason jar.

Jatim: A form of Indonesian tobacco and the abbreviated name of the province of East Java (Jawa Timur), where the tobacco is grown.


Kabakolak: A family of Turkish tobacco strains similar to Basibali, but with wings on their leaf stems in addition to distinct stems.

Kalmasch: A traditional German pipe shape, primarily seen in meerschaum, hallmarked by a bowl and shank of nearly the same, large diameter with a slightly bent shank, and often a very long stem made of cherry wood, flexible tubing, and various other materials.

A Kalmasch Pipe

Katerini: A Turkish varietal of the Samsun basibali type, with a milder, sweeter leaf. Grown southwest of Thessaloniki in the Greek province of Macedonia.

Kentucky: Dark-Fired Kentucky is a type of pipe tobacco made from burley which is cured over a fire and flavored by its smoke.


Latakia: Named for the principal port city of Syria, latakia is not a specific plant varietal, but rather one of a number of Turkish varietals which are fire cured over a stone pine or oak wood fire, giving it a smoky flavor. Most latakia, despite the name, is now grown in Cyprus, not Syria, and camel dung has nothing to do with the process of its creation.

Lovat: A pipe shape, according to the A.S.P. Pipe Parts Charts by Bill Burney, which is essentially a Canadian but with a round shank instead of oval and a saddle stem.

Lucite: Lucite is a trade name for acrylic, or polyacrylate, which is derived from natural gas. It is a composition of Methyl Methacrylate and Poly Methyl Methacrylate resin. Lucite is used for pipe stems due to its lack of oxidation, but is criticized for a harder feel on the teeth.

Lületaşi: A Turkish word literally meaning sea foam and used to refer to meerschaum in that country.


Macedonia: 1. A province of north-central Greece, west of Thrace, which includes the sea port of Thessaloniki (Salonika) and the Katerini tobacco region 2. A recently independent republic, formerly part of Soviet Yugoslavia, located immediately north of the Greek province of Macedonia, and the source of Prilep tobacco.

Mahale: A Turkish tobacco with a basma leaf type grown downslope from Xanthi.

Maryland: An extremely mild tobacco used in a number of American tobacco blends, especially to add a nutty flavor to Burley. Sadly the state of Maryland now pays farmers not to grow tobacco.

Meerschaum: A mineral hydrous magnesium silicate called sepiolite, primarily found in Turkey near Eskisehr, which is used in the making of tobacco pipes. The word means "seafoam".

Melding: The term used to refer to a tobacco blend's property to acquire a single homogeneous taste over time, as a result of aging in an airtight container.

Mellowing: Particularly used in referring to Latakia's tendency to be less overpowering after some aging, the term is sometimes used to refer to a general tendency of tobacco to become more smooth with age.

Morta: Also known as bog-wood or abonos, morta is a material cut from trees which have been buried in peat bogs and near-petrified by the acidic and anaerobic conditions of the bog for a period sometimes hundreds or even thousands of years long. It is valued for its very high mineral content and resulting resistance to fire.

Mortise: A mortise is at its most basic a hole cut or drilled to accept a smaller tenon and make a joint. The joint has been used in woodworking for thousands of years, and in pipe construction generally appears as a hole drilled larger than the airway and at the same depth as the stem tenon. Variations, however, are unlimited.

Mouthpiece: A term used interchangeably with stem and to a lesser degree bit, the mouthpiece is the portion of the pipe meant to be placed in the smoker's mouth, and includes the entire pipe from the end of the shank to the slot. Often made from vulcanite or lucite/acrylic.


Nautilus: A pipe shape originally created by Bo Nordh and named for its obvious resemblance to the shell of a nautilus, resulting in an airway passing through a shank curved in a loop and pierced in the center to suggest the closed portion of the shell, a bowl shaped like the long open mouth of the shell, and a foot curving in a near half circle beneath.

Nail: The simplest form of pipe tool is the venerable Pipe Nail, which generally looks much like its namesake, one end flat to tamp with and another coming to a point or spoon for clearing ash and tar.

Nomenclature: A general term used to refer to the stamping on a pipe in its entirety, including brand names, models, year and shape codes and the like.


ODA: The meaning of “OD”, which is sometimes found with a following letter ranging from “A” to “J”, a further price/grade indicator based on overall production costs and quality of the pipe, is not definitely known but it is consistently said to stand for “Own Design”.[1]

Oliphant: A traditional name for a hunter's horn made from an elephant tusk, the oliphant shape was first designed by Sixten Ivarsson for the Pibe-Dan shop in the late 1950s. According to the A.S.P. Pipe Parts Charts by Bill BurneyThe shape is a variation of the horn meant to resemble the tusk of an elephant, and with a flat curve and even and gradual tapering throughout.

Oom Paul: A shape name which actually means Uncle Paul in Dutch, Oom Paul pipes are full bent billiards, according to the A.S.P. Pipe Parts Charts by Bill Burney. The name comes from the nickname for Stephanus Johannes Paulus Kruger, president of the South African Republic from 1883 to 1900 and the face of the Boer cause against Britain during the Second Boer War of 1899 to 1902. Also called a Hungarian.

Opera Pipe: A shape which the A.S.P. Pipe Parts Charts by Bill Burney refer to as an "Oval" or Pocket pipe, the opera pipe is a billiard with a bowl "squashed" into an oval, with the long side of the oval parallel with the shank and stem. In fact, "opera" pipe is a misnomer. The original name of the pipe was the au pair pipe, as it gained popularity with domestic workers unable to smoke around children.

Oriental: Used interchangeably with "Turkish" to refer to sun cured condimental tobaccos grown in the Eastern Mediterranean. This category of tobaccos includes Yenidje, Smyrna, Samsun, Izmir, Drama, Xanthe, and often Basma, which is not a particular leaf but a generic Turkish blend, and all that pipe tobacco blenders are often able to find due to the purchase of most oriental varietals by cigarette manufacturers.


Panel Billiard: According to the A.S.P. Pipe Parts Charts by Bill Burney, the Panelled Billiard, also called a foursquare, is a basic billiard shape with flat, or panelled, sides. The classic panel has four flat sides and a round shank.

Pear: More commonly called an acorn today, according to the A.S.P. Pipe Parts Charts by Bill Burney the pear is a sort of softened dublin shape, with a conical bowl and tobacco chamber but with all sharp edges rounded.

Perique: Mistakenly believed to be a nickname for Pierre Chenet and actually a French mispronunciation of an American slang word for a part of the anatomy, perique is a type of tobacco grown only in St. James Parish, Louisiana, sauced and kept under massive pressure in barrels until it turns nearly black. Perique has flavors of spice and plum, and is prized as the truffle of pipe tobaccos.

Pickaxe: According to the A.S.P. Pipe Parts Charts by Bill Burney, the pickaxe is a freehand style of pipe characterized by a paneled, triangular bowl.

Pipe: A tube with a small bowl at one end used for the smoking of tobacco.

Pit: Briar grows underground and as such is prone to picking up bits of sand which create a void in the block, sometimes not noticeable until the pipe is nearly finished. Traditionally pits, or sand pits, would simply be filled with putty and stained over for a value priced pipe.

P-Lip: A type of pipe mouthpiece invented by Peterson of Dublin and relying on a small hole on the top of a stem rather than a hole at its end. Meant to reduce tongue bite by directing the flow of smoke away from the tongue.

Plug: Whole leaf, pressed with moisture, becomes a plug, from which flakes can be sliced. Plug tobacco is prepared by slicing off and then rubbing out pieces of the block of tobacco.

Poker: According to the A.S.P. Pipe Parts Charts by Bill Burney, the poker is a straight pipe with a cylindrical, flat bottomed bowl designed so that the pipe will stand on its own.

Pot: According to the A.S.P. Pipe Parts Charts by Bill Burney, the pot is a billiard with a shorter bowl, but not a shorter shank than a standard billiard.

Prilep: A Sirdily variety of Turkish tobacco commonly grown in the region of the town of Prilep, which is located in the Independent Republic of Macedonia.

Prince: According to the A.S.P. Pipe Parts Charts by Bill Burney, the prince is a pipe shape characterized by a squat rounded bowl and along, usually slightly bent stem with a short shank. The pipe was named after Prince Albert, later King Edward VII, the Prince of Wales.

Push/Pull: The term generally used to describe a two part mortise and tenon system used in meerschaum pipes and developed by Andreas Bauer originally. A push/pull consists of a threaded Delrin tenon and a separate threaded plastic mortise. The preferred method of connecting stem and shank in meerschaum pipes, which lack the durability for long term use of a standard mortise/tenon connection.


Quaint: A pipe shape hallmarked, generally, by more than four panels, especially with a paneled shank as well.


Ramses: A pipe shape created by Bo Nordh and later named by a visiting customer for its resemblance to the statue of Ramses II in Abu Simbel, Egypt. Characterized by a long, wide sloping shank which also serves as the foot of the pipe and a long, tapered bowl which rests almost vertically on the shank. Stems are generally partially bent.

A Nordh Ramses

Reaming: Trimming back cake from the bowl of a tobacco pipe.

Reamer: A tool used to trim pipe cake back to an acceptable level. These have been made in countless different forms, adjustable and non-adjustable, for well over a century. Some simply use a pipe knife or sandpaper to accomplish the same task.

Rhodesian: A subject of great dispute. Unlikely to have been named for Cecil Rhodes, and more likely to have taken its name from Rhodesian tobacco, a Rhodesian is considered by some to be any bent bulldog, by others to be any bulldog with a round shank, and by others any bulldog shape with a greater bowl width than height. For each accepted definition of the word there is a pipe sold which contradicts it, and no consensus is likely.

Room Note: The smell of a particular tobacco as it is being smoked. Easier to detect by those not smoking the blend, and a key component to the choice of a pipe tobacco blend especially for those who smoke in public environments. Simply put, how pleasing the smoke would be to a bystander.


Samsun: A Turkish tobacco of the basibali variety with a heart-shaped leaf, grown near the town of Samsun, Turkey on the shores of the Black Sea. Low nicotine tobacco, but with strong flavor and dark color.

Samsun-Maden: Also called Bafra for the village near Samsun, Samsun-Maden is a basibali Turkish tobacco characterized by leaves which are are small sized and ovalThe leaf faces are red to bright red. This strain can be smoked without blending. Nicotine content is often lower than 1% and sugar content is 9-12%.

Shag: A fine-cut tobacco.

Shank: The portion of a stummel between the bowl and mouthpiece, and generally containing the mortise. The length of the pipe shank is one of the key variables in the shape of a pipe, as is it's shape, whether square, diamond, oval or round.

Shirazi: Named for the ancient city of Shiraz in south-western Iran and claimed to be native to that country, Shirazi tobacco is thought to have reached Iran from the Americas in the mid 1500s. Once called Nicotiana Persica.

Sirdily: A category of Turkish basma subvarietals characterized by small, narrow, acutely pointed leaves.

Slot: A slot is the wide opening at the end of the mouthpiece tapering into the airway of the pipe. Generally seen only on vulcanite and acrylic stems from the last century, the slot is funneled both to make the insertion of a pipe cleaner easier and to make for a smoother flow for the smoke.

Smyrna: A type of Turkish tobacco with rich flavor, low nicotine, and cool smoke. It has a very aromatic nature and is often blended with Latakia to somewhat subdue this property. Primarily used as a condiment with pipe tobacco, but occasionally offered by itself. Also called Izmir.

Sokhoum: A type of Turkish varietal of the Samsun basibali type which is deeply fermented. Grown in the mountains above the town of Sokhoum Kale (Sokhumi) in the Republic of Georgia.

Soppeng: A type of Indonesian tobacco prepared much like a traditional cavendish but using palm sugar as the sweetener, and then fired. Primarily smoked in cigarettes but enjoyed as pipe tobacco also, Soppeng is sometimes flavored with cinnamon or other tastes during preparation.

Sphinx: A shape created by Bo Nordh and characterized by a wide domed bowl front cut so as to show birdseye at the center with straight grain radiating out from that point, giving a sunburst pattern. A similar shape, the Mounted Sphinx, was created by Love and Sara Geiger, but was not created as a variation on the shape.

Spiderwebbing: A term used to describe a possible condition of estate pipes, spiderwebbing is the result of oversmoking but, rather than showing in a single spot like char in the bowl or a burnout, is characterized by a pattern of char lines, which look like shallow cracks and are actually burnt into the wood of the bowl. Can be concealed by any amount of cake or even a bowl coating, and so it is usually only evident in a bowl which has been sanded back to bare wood.

Spur: A small protrusion at the bottom of traditional clay pipes to ensure a hot bowl does not burn the table. Frequently included in cutty pipes made even in briar and meerschaum in later decades as an ornamental element of the cutty shape. Seen only occasionally today.

Clay Pipe Resting on Spur

Srintil: A type of heavily fermented, air cured Indonesian tobacco grown in the Java region in the Temangung valley which grows at the top of a plant and by abnormality produces an extreme amount of resin, making it highly potent. Fermentation details are thought to be similar to perique, and in 1983 approximately 3 tons a year of Srintil were grown worldwide. Sometimes extracted in an aqueous solution for use as a flavoring agent.

Stinger: Sometimes referred to as a "metal filter", "cleaner", or "condenser", a stinger is a metal protrusion containing the last portion of the airway in many pipes, primarily of the mid-20th century. A stinger extends from the tenon on a stem into the shank of the pipe, generally in turn drilled with a deeper mortise to allow space. Stingers were used commonly in non-filtered pipes for the majority of the twentieth century, but are no longer seen.

Pipe stem with Stinger

Stummel: German for stump, the stummel is a complete pipe minus only a stem and any final adornments, including the bowl, shank, and transition between the two.


Tambolaka: An Indonesian tobacco grown in limestone heavy soil and after harvesting rolled into long sticks which are bound and stored for five years. Sold both as pipe tobacco and as a component of Indonesian cigars. Very high in nicotine with a tin note best described as pungent.

Tamp: Using a tool or finger to compress the contents of the pipe bowl so as to bring unburnt tobacco into contact with the ember.

Tamper: A tool used to tamp a pipe, generally with a flat end designed for that purpose and a handle. A tamper can be as simple as a piece of dowel or as ornate as the buyer may wish. While it seems inconsequential, tamping is important both for the care of the pipe and the coolness of the smoke.

Tenon: The tenon is the smaller diameter protrusion at the end of a pipe stem which holds the stem to the stummel. It takes its name from one of the oldest joints in woodworking, the mortise and tenon joint. Over the last two centuries tenons have been made separately with bone screws, cut integrally into a vulcanite stem to fit a cut mortise in the stummel, made from threaded aluminum or plastic, made from aluminum to fit a pre-drilled mortise so as to hold a filter, made from delrin and placed into a drilled hole in the stem, and in other fashions as well.

Tin Note: As opposed to the aroma of burning tobacco, the tin note is the scent which can be smelled from the unsmoked tobacco when opened, and is considered a good way to begin to understand a new blend and determine to some degree its components and their relative strength.

Trebizond: No known as Trabzon, Trebizond is grown in Turkey at the southeast shores of the Black Sea. A basibali varietal resembling Samsun, but coarser and stronger.

Turkish: A term used to refer not only to tobaccos grown in modern day Turkey, but rather to any tobacco grown under the Ottoman Empire, particularly at the height of its power under Suleiman the Magnificent. As a result, while the town of Yenidje, for example, would today be in Greece, yenidje tobacco is still classified as Turkish.

Twist: A form of tobacco, also known as rope tobacco, which is spun into a roll, largely by hand, rather than being pressed into flakes. One of the oldest forms of smoking tobacco.


Ukulele: A pipe shape first designed by Sixten Ivarsson for the Pibe-Dan shop in the 1950s and named ukulele, some credit Ed Burak for the design which he considered a bulldog. A ukulele is characterized by a domed, wide bowl and a wide oval shank with a flat bowl bottom, according to the A.S.P. Pipe Parts Charts by Bill Burney.

Ulmer Maserholzpfeifen: A pipe shape which took its name from the city of Ulm, Germany, and originally attributed to Johann Jakob Glöckle in the early 18th century, the Ulmer Maserholzpfeife is a full bent pipe in a "U" shape with a wider portion at the base.

An Ulmer Maserholzpfeife


VaPer: A portmanteau of Virginia and Perique, vaper is simply the contraction used to refer to blends primarily composed of these two types of tobacco.

Vestpocket: A pipe characterized by its ability to fit in a vest pocket, notable for its stem, which swivels over the bowl for carrying and swings out for use, according to the A.S.P. Pipe Parts Charts. Generally all corners on the pipe are rounded to make it easier to remove from a pocket.

Virginia: More appropriately called Brightleaf tobacco, Virginia is used to refer to milder tobacco leaf, lighter in color, which is grown in infertile, sandy soil, largely in North Carolina and Virginia, and which was first grown in approximately 1839.

Volcano: A pipe shape characterized by a conical bowl narrowing towards the top, usually with a rounded base and a bent shank and saddle stem, according to the A.S.P. Pipe Parts Charts.

Vulcanite: Hard black vulcanized rubber used for making pipe stems. Made from rubber containing up to 30% sulfur, vulcanite is soft on the teeth but prone to turning brownish yellow and taking on a sulfur smell on exposure to sunlight. This process is called oxidation.


White Burley: First grown in Brown County, Ohio in 1865 by George Webb, White Burley is the result of planting Red Burley seeds purchased from Kentucky in the different soil of Ohio, which resulted in a mutation of whitish, sickly looking plants. White Burley soon became the chief ingredient in chewing tobacco, American pipe tobacco, and American-style cigarettes. As Red Burley no longer exists, White Burley is simply referred to as Burley today.


Xanthi: Sometimes spelled Xanthe, this grade of Basma tobacco is named for a city in the Thrace region of northeastern Greece, first led into prosperity around 1715 due to the quality of its highly aromatic tobacco. The scientific name of the leaf is Nicotiana tabacum L. cv Xanthi.


Yacht: Another name for the Zulu pipe shape, with a canted dublin bowl, oval shank and 1/8 bent stem. Among others, Kaywoodie used the term Yacht for pipes of this shape.

Yenidje: Named for the town of Yenidje, Thrace, today called Genisea, Greece, Yenidje is also called Yenice, Jenidze, Yenidge, and Yeniji, and is a variety of Yaka tobacco, the best regarded form of Xanthi. Yenidje was an Ottoman tobacco production center until 1843 when the town burned and the growers moved up the slopes of the Rhodope Mountain range. Those slopes, called the Yaka, were made of a red clay loam mixed with small flint stones giving rise to short, low-yielding plants of the basma type, meaning (in this usage) that the leaves are small, almost round and with no free stem. The leaf burns badly on its own and was traditionally mixed with Bafra to cure this issue.


Zulu: A shape of smoking pipe hallmarked by a canted dublin style bowl, an oval shank and a 1/8th bent stem. Also referred to as a Woodstock or a Yacht.

Zeppelin: A name often used to refer to a cigar-shaped pipe of briar with a separate mouthpiece often of vulcanite, usually with a metal cap at the end to hold in the tobacco. Also called a Torpedo.

A Zeppelin Pipe