1779, "the hitting of two or three balls in succession by the cue ball at a single stroke," a shortening and alteration of carambole (1775), from French carambole "the red ball in billiards," from Spanish carombola "the red ball in billiards," perhaps originally "fruit of the tropical Asian carambola tree," which is round and orange and supposed to resemble a red billiard ball; from Marathi (southern Indian) karambal:
If the Striker hits the Red and his Adversary's Ball with his own Ball he played with, he wins two Points; which Stroke is called a Carambole, or for Shortness, a Carrom. ["Hoyle's Games Improved," London, 1779]
1860, "to strike or collide with a thing and then rebound or glance off," from carom (n.). Related: Caromed; caroming.