The Origin of the Term Gadget
A gadget is any ingenious piece or machined object designed for a specific use. Gadgets can be called gizmos too. Gadgets consist of electronic devices like mobile phones, digital cameras, calculators, watches, DVD players and other electronic goods. Gadgets can be used to give you entertainment or for scientific purposes. But it is interesting to note that the word ‘gadget’ did not exist until the 20th century. Gadgets can be used in any form like entertainment, business, scientific experiments, personal utility and many more.
The word gadget first appeared in print in a British magazine in 1908, as ‘gaffs’. Gaffs were small inventions, mainly intended for the men who used them as tools. At that time, the dictionary definition of a gimp was ‘a small, portable and sometimes ingenious machine especially used for small loads’. This definition has since been changed to ‘a small, movable, hand-held and sometimes ingenious device especially used for small loads.’
It was not long after this that the term gadget became associated with some more elaborate products. In the early days, gadgets were mainly simple, small hand-held instruments, which were originally made for the men to carry around. The first widely advertised gadget was the electric shaver, which was available to men, women and children alike.
Nowadays, the word gadget evokes images of larger, more complicated and technologically advanced devices. However, this has not reduced the popularity of gadgets. Gadgets have remained popular because they are fun and useful. When a new gadget or small tool is released, it is often thought of as a super-sized gift for the person. Gadgets allow us to express our creativity and at the same time help others do the same thing. There is always a sense of wonder when a new invention or cleverly invented gadget does what we expect it to do – make things easier and more convenient.
In the 18th Century, the term gadget came into general use. It was not long before another g factor was added to the word. This time, it was golf. A game that had been in existence for hundreds of years was suddenly transformed into a game of skill that required a lot of equipment and was highly competitive. This competition led to the invention of golf clubs – something that was considered a necessity for any golfer.
Today, the word gadget applies to almost anything that you can think of that is not often thought of as a ‘gadget’. Some examples include snow shovels that are not actually shovels, razors and toothbrushes that are not sharp. In fact, the g term is often thought to be synonymous with the term gadget. If you feel that the meaning of the g word is not clear enough, consider using the word gadget to explain the meaning of any other word that you don’t understand.