Even if you’ve never worked on a midway, you can still pepper your speech with delightfully authentic carnival jargon. Start slipping these terms into conversation and watch as your friends bally about how great talking to you is.
1. Annie Oakley (noun): A meal ticket.
2. Bally (verb): To attract a crowd by making a great commotion about how terrific a show is.
3. Brodie (noun): A clumsy and spectacular fall. Named for Steve Brodie, a man who claimed to have survived a fall from the Brooklyn Bridge in 1886.
4. Charivari (noun): A cacophonous and chaotic entrance of clowns.
5. Charley (verb): To toss a stack of posters or playbills in the trash rather than giving them away as ordered.
6. Cherry pie (noun): Outside work performed by carnival employees for extra cash.
7. Clem (noun): A fight between carnival employees.
8. Duke (noun): A box lunch distributed to carnival staff.
9. Kinker (noun): Any performer, but originally intended for acrobats.
10. G-top (noun): Private employee tent for gambling.
11. Larry (adjective): Poorly made, worthless, bad (of items or souvenirs).
12. Lead joint (noun): Shooting gallery.
13. Reuben (noun): A rube or a gullible sap.
14. Scram-bag (noun): A bag packed for immediate use in case a quick departure is required.
15. Waxie (noun): A repairman.
[Sources: Dictionary of American Slang (1965); GoodMagic.com]