Canasta Glossary

The following are a few of unique words and phrases used in playing Canasta (see also: general Rummy glossary):

Four natural cards of the same rank, essential to making a canasta.
Base, or Basic, Count
The total of one’s bonus scores, as distinguished from the point values of cards melded.
Black Canasta
A canasta with one to three wild cards.
Black Three
A three of spades or three of clubs; since black threes may not be melded except when going out (and without using any wild cards), they are a safe discard that almost always prevents the opponent from taking the discard pile.
A meld of seven or more matching cards; also, the name of this game.
(See "going out concealed")
Required to take the discard pile if able to do so.
A term referring to a discard pile that cannot be taken without a natural pair in one's hand; specifically, a discard pile is frozen for a team that has not yet melded, and also whenever it contains a red three or a wild card.
A point total of 5000 or more.
Going Out
Getting rid of all the cards in one's hand, either by melding all of them or by discarding one and melding all the rest; going out is worth 100 points (double if going out concealed).
Going Out Concealed
Going out without having made any previous melds (worth 100 points). Note that alternate scoring gives 200 points instead of the usual 100 for going out concealed.
Going Out Unconcealed
Going out having previously made one or more melds (worth 100 points).
Initial Meld
The first meld made in a deal by a player or a side, when this meld must conform to certain specifications.
Minimum Count
The requirement in point values for a valid initial meld (50, 90, or 120 according to the side’s accumulated score).
Mixed Canasta
A canasta containing one to three wild cards.
A card other than a wild card, or a canasta containing no wild cards.
Natural Canasta
A canasta containing no wild cards.
Two players who sit across from one another and act as a team against the other two players.
A unit of scoring.
Prize Pile
A discard pile that is frozen.
Used in describing a canasta with no wild cards.
Red Canasta
A canasta with no wild cards.
Stop Card
A black three or any wild card when discarded, since the next player may not then take the discard pile.
Red Three
A three of diamonds or three of hearts, worth 100 points each (double if all four are melded by one side).
(See "going out unconcealed")
Wild Card
A card that can stand for any other; in canasta, any joker or deuce.