Kayfabe

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Anonymous:
The Mexican-wrestler thread led me to the word "kayfabe", which means the illusion that professional "wrestling" is a real sport. For instance, an announcer who makes an inept comment might be said to break kayfabe.
I think the pronounciation is "kay-FAY-bee" /keI'feIbi/. Does anyone know for sure?
One theory I've seen on the origin is that it was a carny word meaning "Rubes are around! Don't dispell any illusions." For instance, this is from Urban Dictionary: 'Wrestling term derived from "carnival talk" for the word "keep". Originally would have been pronounced more like "keel-feep". When said quickly, it sounds like kay-fabe. Used as shorthand term for "keep quiet", or "keep secret".' Another theory is that it comes from backslang or some weird kind of pig-Latin for "fake". Modesty forbids me to reveal who speculated that it might come from the schoolboy's "cave!" /keIvi/, which I think was known to the lower classes of criminals, though I could be wrong.

So my real question is, does anyone have early citations or other real information on the origin? And does anyone know how it got an apparently standard but odd spelling?
By the way, according to Wikipedia, a wrestling fan who believes it's real is a "mark", unsurprisingly, while a person privy to the behind-the-scenes management is a "smart". A fan who knows it's illusion but enjoys the staged action is a "smark". To momentarily lose one's disbelief is to "mark out", and smarks may enjoy marking out.
Although I know it takes all kinds, I still get surprised now and then.
Jerry Friedman believes what he reads at Wikipedia.
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Donna Richoux:
[nq:1]The Mexican-wrestler thread led me to the word "kayfabe", which means the illusion that professional "wrestling" is a real sport. ... or other real information on the origin? And does anyone know how it got an apparently standard but odd spelling?[/nq]
It's not in any of my slang dictionaries.
Did you see the article here?
http://www.errantknightgames.com/kayfabe/what.html

They say, among other things,
To protect the business, the wrestlers used secret lingo when discussing insider matters. Carney, as
it's often called, primarily consists of words that have an extra syllable or an emphasis on a different existing syllable.
and
A good handful of the simpler terms are widely known to the masses. One such word is "kayfabe", which
roughly translates to "be fake".
Putting those together, I notice "be fake" -> be - fa - ke -> reverses to ke - fa - be.
Coincidence? Or is this "some kind of weird pig-Latin" as you put it?

Best Donna Richoux
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Ross Howard:
[nq:2]The Mexican-wrestler thread led me to the word "kayfabe", which ... know how it got an apparently standard but odd spelling?[/nq]
[nq:1]It's not in any of my slang dictionaries. Did you see the article here? http://www.errantknightgames.com/kayfabe/what.html They say, among other things, ... reverses to ke - fa - be. Coincidence? Or is this "some kind of weird pig-Latin" as you put it?[/nq]
Maybe it's an offshoot of Polari. (Ooh, 'ark at 'er with all them rippling muscles and glistening sweat! Full Nelson? I wouldn't complain if she filled mine.)

Ross Howard
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R H Draney:
Ross Howard filted:
[nq:2]Putting those together, I notice "be fake" -> be - ... this "some kind of weird pig-Latin" as you put it?[/nq]
[nq:1]Maybe it's an offshoot of Polari. (Ooh, 'ark at 'er with all them rippling muscles and glistening sweat! Full Nelson? I wouldn't complain if she filled mine.)[/nq]
Isn't back-slang one of the tributaries of Polari?...this "kayfabe" thing looks like a form of that..r
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Ross Howard:
[nq:1]Ross Howard filted:[/nq]
[nq:1]Isn't back-slang one of the tributaries of Polari?...this "kayfabe" thing looks like a form of that..r[/nq]
More than a tributary, it's a stickycharacter.

Ross Howard
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Anonymous:
[nq:2]The Mexican-wrestler thread led me to the word "kayfabe", whichmeans ... know how it got an apparently standard but odd spelling?[/nq]
[nq:1]It's not in any of my slang dictionaries.[/nq]
Thanks for checking. I'm hoping one of the database masters will give it a try.
[nq:1]Did you see the article here? http://www.errantknightgames.com/kayfabe/what.html [/nq]
I did not.
[nq:1]They say, among other things, To protect the business, the wrestlers used secret lingo when discussing insider matters. Carney, as ... ->reverses to ke - fa - be. Coincidence? Or is this "some kind of weird pig-Latin" as you put it?[/nq]
I think that would be more backslang, though when I mentioned backslang, I was thinking "fake" backwards was "kayf". I like your elaboration of that theory, though. There seems to be a popular belief that it was carny slang and was related to "fake", which is a start, anyway.

Jerry Friedman
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