A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from March 18, 2006
Hindoo or Hindu (handball term)
"Hindoo" or "hindu" was a popular New York City term for "do-over." It started in handball and was used for when the ball went out of play. It's believed to be derived from the term "hinder" or "hinderance."

(Dictionary of American Regional English, D-H)
hindu exclam Also hinda, hindoo [Prob. varr of hinder accidental interference with the ball in a game such as handball or squash.]
See quots.

1981 Verbatim Letters NYC, One interesting term that came out of that game (Chinese handball) was cried out as, "Hinda" or "hindu." I would suspect that this is a corruption of the word "hinder" and was used if the ball accidentally hit some object. Today the term is "Do-over."
1987 DARE File NYC (as of 1960), In the games of Chinese handball, box ball, or king and queen, "hindoo" was called out if the ball went out of play owing to some type of interference.

http://www.lampos.com/brooklyn.htm
Hindoo: A do-over during a game. It also refers to a funny bounce in handball. If the ball hits where the wall meets the ground, and bounces back in a slow high arc, that ball was a "hindoo" and not to be played, thus leading to a do-over.

12 August 1974, Los Angeles Times, pg. A4:
Youse Might Need a Translation
From Newsday

Brooklynese and their translations:
(...)
Hindoo -- A term used in handball to indicate a hinderance. A corruption of "hinder."

7 April 1979, New York Times, pg. 23:
"That was a hindu [do-over]."

3 January 1990, New York Times, pg. B9:
This new method of ranking the college teams could be called a "Louie," like the "best-ball" gimmick in a golf foursome or the "do-over" we used to claim in sandlot baseball, or what we used to call a "hindoo" when the ball hit a nasty crack when me and Julio used to play handball down by the schoolyard.

Posted by Barry Popik
Sports/Games • (0) Comments • Saturday, March 18, 2006 • Permalink