Carny

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

 
Jump to: navigation, search
For other uses, see Carny (disambiguation) and Carney.
For the 2010 film, see Carnies (film).
A carny and his coconut shy, 2005

Carny or carnie is a slang term used in North America for a carnival employee, and the language they use, particularly when the employee runs a "joint" (booth), "grab joint" (food stand), game, or ride at a carnival, boardwalk or amusement park. The term "showie" is used synonymously in Australia.

Etymology[edit]

Carny is thought to have become popularized around 1931 in North America, when it was first colloquially used to describe one who works at a carnival.[1] The word carnival, originally meaning a "time of merrymaking before Lent," came into use circa 1549.

Carny language[edit]

See also: Parlyaree

The carny vocabulary is traditionally part of carnival cant, a secret language. It is an ever-changing form of communication, in large part designed to be impossible to understand by an outsider.[2] As words are assimilated into the culture at large, they lose their function and are replaced by more obscure or insular terms.[citation needed] Most carnies no longer use cant, but many owners/operators and "old-timers" still use some of the classic terms.

In addition to carny jargon, some carnival workers used a special infix ("earz" or "eez" or "iz") to render regular language unintelligible to outsiders. This style eventually migrated into wrestling, hip hop, and other parts of modern culture.[3]

The British form of fairground cant is called "Parlyaree".

Usage in popular culture[edit]

Film
Television
Music
Literature
Other

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]