Where Did the Term “Mark” Come From For a Gullible Person and What Does the Word Mean?

A “mark” is someone who can easily be taken advantage of and came to us from midway carnival operators (or “carries”) who run games of chance.

The word midway was first used to describe the outdoor amusements at the 1893 World’s Exposition in Chicago.

After a camie found a victim, and before sending him on his way with a cheap prize, the rogue would slap the rube on the back with a dust-covered hand, marking him as a sucker for operators down the line.

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Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

1 thought on “Where Did the Term “Mark” Come From For a Gullible Person and What Does the Word Mean?”

  1. Actually, it came from the 30’s and 40’s in the era of the door to door salesmen. When they had a successful sell of their vacuum cleaners to a housewife, they would put a chalk mark on the sidewalk leading to the house as a courtesy to other salemen, so they would know that the home’s occupant was easily convinced. Thus, a “mark”.

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