Glossary of Wrestling Terms

Our glossary of wrestling terms is a great resource for those new to the sport as well as those who need a refresher before you work out. Wrestling is the world’s oldest sport, dating back at least 15,000 years, and it’s still a popular sport today.

Whether you’re thinking about becoming a wrestler yourself, watching the sport at school, or watching the WWE on TV, you may notice that people use a specific vocabulary when they talk about wrestling. Learning the vocabulary of the sport can help you to better understand what wrestlers do.


This term is used to describe a wrestler who finished in the top eight of their weight class on a national level.


In professional wrestling, a babyface, also called a face, is the “good guy” who fans are supposed to support. This wrestler is the designated hero.


A bout is a match between two wrestlers. The length of a bout will vary depending on the specific type of wrestling. For instance, high school wrestling bouts might consist of three rounds that last two minutes each. Pro wrestlers, on the other hand, usually only have one round in each bout, and that round can last for many minutes or even more than an hour.

Central Wrestling Area: 

This is the area where the bout occurs in amateur wrestling. It is usually a circle measuring 7 meters in diameter.


The referee might give this instruction to the wrestlers to tell them to be more active.


When a wrestler manages to get out of a pin or other hold, this is called an escape.

Fireman’s Carry:

The fireman’s carry is a type of takedown in which you pick your opponent up and over your shoulders like you’re going to carry them, and then throw them down onto the mat. It takes a lot of strength to do, but it’s also pretty effective.

Fleeing the Hold: 

This can occur when a defending wrestler moves out of the way to prevent the opponent from executing a hold. This is against the rules in amateur wrestling.

Full Nelson:

The Full Nelson is an illegal hold in amateur wrestling but common in professional bouts. To do it, you get behind your opponent, thread both of your arms through their armpits, then bring your hands behind their heck and clasp them together.

Grand Amplitude Throw:

To execute this move, a wrestler lifts their opponent high into the air and throws them down so that their back hits the mat. This is one of the most impressive moves in wrestling.


Greco-Roman wrestling is a style of wrestling in which you cannot use your legs for any moves.


In pro wrestling, the heel is the “bad guy” who fans root against.

Injury Time:

This is a period, usually 2 minutes, during which the bout is halted due to an injury. If the match cannot be continued after this time, the bout ends in an injury default, and no winner is declared.

Jury of Appeal: 

These are members of the governing body of the sport who are responsible for conducting video replays. This usually occurs when a coach challenges a scoring decision.

Leg Lace:

A move in which a wrestler grabs the ankles of a face-down opponent, turns them over, and exposes the opponent’s back to the mat

Neutral Position:

Each wrestler takes a neutral position at the beginning of a match, standing and facing their opponent.


A wrestler who is overly cautious, countering the opponent’s moves without initiating their own, they’re showing passivity.


A pin occurs when a wrestler holds their opponent down so that both of their shoulder blades are touching the mat. In most types of matches, if you pin your opponent, you automatically win the bout. A pin is also sometimes called a fall.


A singlet is a one-piece, form-fitting uniform worn by wrestlers either during a workout or for a match.

Technical Points: 

During an amateur match, points are awarded to wrestlers who perform certain attacking moves. If neither wrestler is pinned, the athlete who has the most technical points at the end of the match is declared the winner.


The French word for “fallen,” which referees may use to announce a pin


UWW stands for United World Wrestling, which is the international governing body of amateur wrestling.

More Resources for Wrestling Terms