Here's the one I have almost seen used wrong every time it's been said. Not that I blame anyone for misusing the term, because even the wrestling industry seems to have forgotten what it means.
In its correct usage, a mark can mean one of two things. In a description of someone who is not involved in the business, a mark is merely a paying fan. For those who are part of the business, it's a performer who can't separate their real-life personality from the character they play. When wrestling's little secret of being pre-determined began to become apparent, the IWC began to christen some fans as smart marks (smarks for short). These where guys who were fans of wrestling despite knowing it was pre-judged.
The term itself developed from con artists who used to "mark" people out as their next target. Since pro wrestling used to try and con the audience into believing it was real, this made sense.
Obviously, with the lack of people who actually think the show is 100 percent real anymore, the term was going to be twisted. Still, in the end, a mark is still just a fan.
This also brings me to the term "marking out." One of my favourite lines about this term comes from James Guttman's book World Wrestling Insanity, where he says:
Mark doesn't mean 'cheer' either. A lot of people will say, 'When so-and-so returned to Raw, I marked out!' Well, unless you started throwing quarters at your television, you didn't.
No, instead of just being a term used to describe fans, it has become a lot more malicious in use. Among the community, mark is now used to insult a fan who others believe has large amounts of knowledge of wrestling or care too much about what they are seeing onscreen. In other words, the wrestling equivalent of a geek.
As for smark, this is now a term people in the business use to insult fans who they believe are overly critical of the show. Eric Bischoff, on regular occasions, used it when trying to bat away the burning comments on TNA's lack of success since he joined the company.
Now, I accept that over time the meaning of words change. I am just highlighting how far some of these terms have drifted from their initial use. Of course we can carry on calling people marks as a way to describe wrestling geeks, because that's what happens in the real world.
After all, there are several words in the English language that don't exactly have the same meaning as they did 50 years ago.