This is how you translate the slang of carnival workers.

I know it's the middle of winter but I can't help thinking about better weather. Going to outdoor events and festivals. Enjoying fair food and carnivals.

One of my college roommates worked as a "carny" during summer break. He really liked the job but said its a different lifestyle.

Like anything, carnival workers have their own terminology. It's not a bad thing to have some "insider" information if you plan on taking the kids to one this year.

According to,

"Carnival slang was created so carnies could talk about marks in the open without the chumps realizing it. Commit these state fair worker codes to memory to avoid getting skinned the next time you walk the midway." 

  • Fin - "$5 bill"
  • Mark "Gullible"
  • Red Light - "Stiff someone of a paycheck or fire them"
  • Oach "Skimming money"
  • Paste"Cheap prizes"
  • Reading The Midway "Looking for cash dropped on the ground"
  • Cherry Pie "Doing odd jobs for extra money"
  • Cutting Up Jackpots "Tell tall tales"
  • Broad Tosser "Someone who deals Three Card Monte"
  • Waxie "Maintenance worker"
  • Tip "Crowd waiting for a show or ride"
  • Picture Gallery "Person with lots of tattoos"
  • Ballyhoo"Talking up interest"
  • Blankaroo "Open but not making money"
  • Pitch "Demonstrating game"
  • Brodie "Crazy fall"
  • Cool Out "Convince a mark they weren't scammed"
  • Larry "Broken"

Listen carefully next time you attend a carnival and maybe you'll hear some of these terms.

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