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Spoofing

  • By: Robert A. Saunders
  • In: Encyclopedia of Humor Studies
  • Edited by: Salvatore Attardo
  • Subject:General Media, Communication & Cultural Studies, Sociology of Culture

English music hall entertainer Arthur Roberts (1852–1933) introduced the word spoof into the English language via a card game of his own invention. The first mention of the game Spoof dates to 1884, and within 5 years the term spoof entered into regular usage distinct from Roberts’s parlor-room pastime. Signifying trickery and nonsense, spoof was originally synonymous with “hoax,” while the verb to spoof meant to engage in deception or bluffing, particularly in jest. By the mid-20th century, however, the concept shifted toward its contemporary meaning, that is, lighthearted satire or good-natured parody.

At the root of any act of spoofing is the use of misrepresentation to make light of or ridicule a person or thing. Like many forms of humor, spoofing relies on the gap ...

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