From the Online Etymology Dictionary:
1779, from Sp. carombola "the red ball in billiards," originally an orange tropical Asian fruit supposed to resemble a red billiard ball, from Marathi (southern Indian) karambal. The verb is 1860, from the noun.
While the UNC-Chapel Hill Men's Basketball team scored a 75-70 victory over Illinois last night, I tried to do my part to ensure their victory by not watching the game.
When I read the AP news article reprinted at Yahoo! this morning, there was a reference to carom in this passage:
Head later missed a 3-pointer that would have given Illinois a tie in the final minute, and May leaped high to tip the carom to North Carolina point guard Raymond Felton.
Of course, there was enough context there for me to understand the meaning, but I had never heard this word before, as I am not an athlete or enough of a fanatic to live my life as if it were anything more than a game.
So I thought it would be an interesting word to suggest, as it appears to have the potential for other metaphorical applications in the language of our lives.
...who was reminded of the word careen for some reason...