curling, winter sport, similar in principle to bowls and quoits (see horseshoe pitching), played on an ice court by teams of four. Each player hurls a squat, circular stone—weighing 38 lb (17.2 kg), dished on bottom and top and having a top handle for the player's grip—at the tees, or fixed goals, which are placed 38 yd (35 m) apart. Around each tee a circle is drawn with a radius of 6 ft (1.8 m). Each player is provided with a crampit, or spiked metal plate, to get a foothold on the ice, and a broom to sweep the ice in front of the swerving stone—one of the eye-catching features of the game. The players on both teams alternately send the stones toward one tee; the stones lying nearest the tee at the end of play count toward the score. The play is then made toward the opposite tee. A curling tournament is called a bonspiel. Curling is a major winter sport of Scotland, where it was played perhaps as early as the 16th cent. The Royal Caledonia Curling Club, founded in 1838, is the governing body of the sport. Curling is also very popular in Canada, is played to some extent in the United States and other countries, and is a winter Olympic sport.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.