Skip to main content
Select Source:

jai alai

jai alai (hī´lī´), handball-like game of Spanish Basque origin. It is also called pelota. Jai alai is played on a three-walled court with a hard rubber ball that must be hurled against the front wall with the cesta, a wicker basket attached to the player's arm. The court is about 175 ft (53 m) long, 40 ft (12.2 m) wide, and 40 ft (12.2 m) high. Spectators sit behind a wire fence or plexiglass wall on the fourth side. To their right is the front wall, or frontis. The object is to hurl the ball against the front wall in such a way that it cannot be returned. The ball may hit the side or rear wall, but not the spectator wall, before striking the frontis. The ball, which reaches speeds of 150 mph (240 kph), is caught in the cesta and thrown in a continuous motion. Jai alai is played as either singles or doubles with scoring similar to that of court handball. Betting on games is popular; parimutuel wagering is legal in a few U.S. states. Jai alai is also popular in parts of Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America, and the Philippines.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"jai alai." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Aug. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"jai alai." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 20, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/jai-alai

"jai alai." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved August 20, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/jai-alai

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

jai alai

jai a·lai / ˈhī (ə)ˌlī/ • n. a game like pelota played with large, curved wicker baskets.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"jai alai." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Aug. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"jai alai." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 20, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/jai-alai

"jai alai." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved August 20, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/jai-alai

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.