Where Does the Term Gadget Get Its Name?

A gadget is usually any innovative electrical or mechanically electronic item designed and developed for the benefit of the user. Gadgets can be called many things, but they all have to do with something that solves a problem. A new mobile phone with GPS technology is a gizmo. A camera that takes HD quality pictures is also a gizmo. A robot that makes getting around the house easier by navigating a house with no hands is also a gizmo.

Gadgets can be small tools that aid in the everyday lives of people. For example, a pen that writes notes or a small screwdriver can be considered a gadget. A pair of scissors that make it possible for one to cut paper without having to hold the actual paper are very useful gadgets. A hair dryer that can be used by almost anyone and does not take up much room in the closet is another handy little gadget. A toaster that comes with toast already baked into it is yet another handy gadget.

Gadgets are also often thought of as items that are for the celebrity geeks. Someone who is a member of the newsgroup Grouper or a person who collects that infamous Beanie Bag Bear is probably considering a gadget. The latest cell phone with a camera on it is another latest craze. However, there is considerable controversy concerning whether or not these new cell phones, PDAs and other electronic gadgets are actually gizmos rather than tools. Some argue that a small tool is much more likely to create a real technological advancement than a gizmo.

Another argument against the idea that a new gadget is a gimmo is that the gimp was not invented to replace the wheel. The wheel was invented to replace the stick-shift mechanism that was found in automobiles. However, the gimp is often thought of as a substitute for that certain little wheel.

Many people use the word gadget as an adjective to describe something that is not a technical item whose precise name has ever been given. For instance, a calculator is not a gadget but a machine that can add, multiply and subtract. An electronic game that one can play is not necessarily a gadget but a game. A video camera is not a gadget but a tool. And a set of speakers is not a gadget but a tool. All of these examples lead to the general conclusion that gadgets, while having no technical definition, have more than simply a simple meaning of something that can be used to do something else.

This leads to the question of just where did the term get its name. Most research indicates that the origin of the term is likely to be derived from two words: “gadget” and “hette.” Gadget is believed to be the feminine form of the word. The term gag e, derived from the game of whistling while dying, may have been derived from this game. The game was supposedly originated in Ancient Greece.

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