barn ball n
1 A game, usu for one or two players, involving batting or catching a ball bounced off a barn or other building. obs Also called barn tick n
1841 Daily Picayune (New Orleans LA) 25 May 2/2 neOH, Who has not played “barn ball” in his boyhood? 1860 (1861) Tarbox Winnie & Walter’s 54 ceMA (as of c1830), There was “barn-ball,” when there were only two boys to play,—one to throw the ball against the barn and make it bound back, and the other to strike at it with his club. 1868 Sacramento Daily Union (CA) [13 Oct 3]/5, Yesterday afternoon two young men were playing “bound-ball,” or “barn-ball,” in a ball court . . , when one of them . . struck at the ball, and instantly fell forward and expired. 1879 Taylor Summer-Savory 122 NY, The writer knew a boy who . . never got farther than “barn-ball,” which means throwing a ball at the gable and catching it when it returns. 1887 Brooklyn Daily Eagle (NY) 16 Oct 7/5 IL (as of c1860), The game was what was called barn ball and it consisted in knocking the ball against the side of a building and then hitting it again on the rebound. 1890 Pop. Sci. Mth. 37.654 seIA, It was much more fun to throw the ball against the barn, and standing behind the batter put him out by catching the ball when he struck at it and missed it on the rebound. This we called “barn-ball.” 1895 DN 1.384 cNY, Barn ball: a schoolboy’s game. 1906 Oelwein Reg. (IA) 11 July 2/3, Donavan was the first man up . . and sad to relate this ancient gentleman who had played “barn ball” with Socrates struck out. 1909 DN 3.408 nME, Barn ball. . . A game which consisted of bounding a ball against a barn and catching it.
2 also barnyard ball: An informal or rough game of basketball. esp OH, WI
1963 News–Herald (Willoughby OH) 29 Mar 12/1, They call it “barn ball” down in Champaign County. . . The term is used to describe summer basketball in a barnyard . . . Barn ball sessions are a rural version of “alley ball,” more familiar to boys from Columbus East or Cleveland East Tech. 1971 Oneonta Star (NY) 15 Mar 13/3, Doug Calhoun . . had suffered a severely cut knee in a game of “barn ball” before the sectionals got under way. 1972 Chron.–Telegram (Elyria OH) 6 Jan 36/1, Pro games sometimes become nothing more than “barn ball” with sloppy play the rule, rather than the exception. 1974 Harlan Daily Enterprise (KY) 26 Feb 2/7, The Wildcats . . had only eight [assists] against Florida—perhaps a feeling by the players that since the Southeastern Conference and runnerup berths are lost it’s time to play barnyard ball. 1987 Crescent–News (Defiance OH) 17 Mar 13/5, “We grew up playing basketball together.” Which means Jerry got in a lot of barnyard ball with his family. 1992 Ibid 12 Feb 13/2, My brothers beat up on me on the basketball court when we played barn ball. 2008 Barker–Tennies Hist. Kekoskee WI 325 (as of 1940s), When the straw mow was empty, we would play basketball in it. Some of Roman’s friends from high school would come out Sunday afternoons and play basketball, also known as barn ball. Barn ball was the same as basketball only a lot rougher. 2013 WI State Jrl. (Madison) 1 Oct sec C 9/1 swWI, I got my start in sports: At a very young age playing barn ball and wrestling with my older cousins.