Kayfabe: /ˈkeɪfeɪb/ In professional wrestling, the portrayal of staged events as “real” or “true.” The term came from the carnival world, where – according to TV Tropes – it is thought to have originated as Pig Latin for be fake. (According to my sources, its original pronunciation would thus have been kee-fabe. No, this doesn't make sense to me, either.) UPDATE: An alternate etymology, also from carnival lingo, is given in the eWrestling wiki: “With money tight, a carny would call home collect and ask for ‘Kay Fabian.’ This was code letting the people at home know they had made it safely to the next town without paying for the cost of a phone call.” (Thanks for that link to reader Dan Freiberg.)
From the TV Tropes entry:
Professional Wrestling adopted the term as a reference to the standard Fourth Wall features of separating the audience from the action. It is meant to convey the idea that, yes, pro wrestling is a genuine sport, and yes, this is how these people act in real life. It is essentially Willing Suspension of Disbelief specifically for pro wrestling.
I’m not a wrestling fan, so my first encounter with kayfabe occurred earlier this year in an unexpected context: the presidential primaries. Specifically, the Donald Trump campaign.
This pissing match between Donald Trump and Fox News over Megyn Kelly just REEKS of kayfabe.— Charles Johnson (@Green_Footballs) March 19, 2016