Hookahs Hookahs

Hookah Glossary

Whether you're new to the hookah community, or a seasoned veteran, it can be difficult to remember what all of the hookah parts are called. This can be especially frustrating when a particular piece is broken, missing, or incorrect in your order. Below is a glossary list of term to help you get to know your hookah anatomy.


The term 'hookah' refers to a water pipe that is used to smoke a particular style of tobacco. The hookah has a long history in Middle Eastern culture. Depending where you are in the world, you may also hear a hookah referred to as any of the following: nargile, hubbly bubbly, ghalyun, narguileh, hukka, or a shisha.


While some regions may refer to the actual pipe as the 'shisha', this is the primary term used when referencing the tobacco that is smoked. Also called Mu’assal, Moassal, or Tombak, this tobacco is traditionally soaked in fruity juices and placed in a hookah bowl. The bowl goes on top of the hookah, and is smoked when heated with coals.


1. Wind Cover - This traditional wind cover rests on the tray of the hookah and shields the coal from the wind when smoking outdoors. When used indoors it also acts as a safeguard; were your hookah to accidentally tip over the wind cover would prevent the coals from scattering and burning holes in your floor.
2. Foil is normally used on to of your hookah bowl, or you can use a bowl screen. This reusable metal hookah screen sits on your hookah bowl and holds your hot hookah coals that heat the shisha tobacco.
3. Hookah Bowl - these can come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and designs. Once shisha is placed in the bowl, and foil (or a screen) is placed on top of the bowl , holes are poked in the foil, and hot coals are placed on top.
4. Bowl Grommet/Gasket - Hookah bowl grommets secure the hookah bowl to the top stem of your hookah and ensure a sturdy, air-tight seal.
5. Hookah Tray - Located below the bowl, and is designed to catch hookah coal ash, or can be used to set extra coals.
6. Shaft (aka Stem) - This is the main piece of your hookah. The bowl and tray are placed on top of the hookah stem, and the hose is inserted into the hose port (with the help of a hose grommet).  The skinny, bottom part is called the 'down stem'. This is the part that goes into your hookah base. Your hookah base should be filled with just enough water to emerge the downstem approximately one inch.
7. Release Valve (aka Purge Valve or Check Valve) - With this screwed into one of the ports you can "purge" stale or harsh smoke by blowing into your hookah hose (you must be using a non-autoseal hose adapter for this to work).  This release valve contains an internal ball bearing that ensures an airtight seal.
8. Ball Bearings - Inside the release valve is a ball bearing which lifts up when purging (blowing out), and is pulled down to create a seal when drawing (sucking in).
9. Base Grommet/Gasket - This is a thick rubber hookah base grommet that seals the connection between the hookah's metal shaft and the glass hookah base.
10. Hookah Base/Vase - The hookah shaft sits in the base, and the base is filled with enough water to cover the stem approximately one inch.
11. Base Protector - The glass hookah base protector is a durable rubber "sleeve" that fits over the bottom of your glass hookah base. It provides extra cushioning and stability on hard surfaces and prevents the hookah base from slipping or tipping over easily. The wooden base is called a Hookah Home. It provides extra stability and adjustablity for hookahs of varying size.
12. Hose/Pipe - This is the actual item that you will be smoking from. Insert the port side into the hose port on the hookah stem, make sure there is a tight seal at the entry point, and smoke away! Make sure to take note as to the washability of your hose. If your hose is non-washable, then make sure not to run any water through it when cleaning otherwise it will rust and degrade quickly.
13. Mouth tip - Hookah Mouth tips are used for sanitary purposes when smoking with a group of people and helps prevent the spread of germs. Play it safe and be sure these hookah tips are handed out to each of your guests so when it's their turn to smoke they can place their tip on the hose and have their puffs!
14. Hose Grommet/Gasket - Hookah hose grommets go on the end of your hookah hose and fit in the hose adapter of your hookah. These ensure an air-tight seal and also prevent the hookah hose from falling out while smoking.
15. Hose Connector/Hose Adapter - This part sticks out of the hookah stem, it's where you place the port end of your hookah hose.
16. Hookah Tongs - used for handling hot hookah hookah coals.