kayfabe n. the showbiz and stagecraft of professional wrestling, including the ring personas of professional wrestlers, especially when maintained in public; insider knowledge of professional wrestling. Also keyfabe. Editorial Note: The historical information in the 1998 citation is unverified. Etymological Note: Probably from a Pig Latin form of fake. (source: Double-Tongued Dictionary)

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  1. Ben Zimmer says:

    From the rec.sport.pro-wrestling FAQ (Oct 9, 1995):

    15.7. What is Kay Fabe?

    The term Kay Fabe comes from ancient carnival talk, appropriate as professional wrestling has it’s origins in the carnivals. Kay Fabe practices were old tricks, from three card monte to cure all elixers and, of course, magic acts. A kay fabe violator exposed the secrets behind these practices. In wrestling, the term has come to mean not exposing that the business is worked. In the 80s, Satoru Sayama, the original Tiger Mask, wrote a book entitled Kay Fabe, exposing many secrets of the business.

  2. Yeah, I saw that, but didn’t feel it was necessary to cite it. However, it did put me on the lookout for Sayama’s book which I’ll cite if and when I find it.

  3. thank you for actually including the word Kayfabe in the dictionary.  my own home dictionary didn’t have it and neither did other online dictionaries that i tried

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