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Postby Dr. Goodword » Thu Jun 08, 2006 10:38 pm

• hat trick •

Pronunciation: hæt trik • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun phrase

Meaning: 1. Three goals scored in one soccer or hockey match. 2. The retiring of three batsmen with three consecutive balls by a bowler in cricket. 3. More generally, a string of any kind of three consecutive accomplishments.

Notes: As we mentioned yesterday, today begins the quadrennial World Cup competition, so we offer one more relevant Good Word today. With all the odd choices, such as pitch, boots, sweeper, and scissors, plus phrases like bulge the onion bag, sick as a parrot, and cheeky backpass, the pickings are grand. We chose hat trick, since scoring once in a soccer match is in itself an accomplishment but scoring three times is very nearly a feat of magic. As we once heard on the BBC: "Alan Shearer's hat trick shattered Germany's resolve! England won the match, 3 to 2!"

In Play: The popularity of soccer (more than cricket) has led to a broader, more general use of this word: "Did you hear? Kenny Pullum scored a hat trick: he closed 3 major sales this week." Why not use it around school? "Roger may not be worth his salt on the soccer field but he scored a hat trick in school this week; he aced (made As in) three mid-term exams."

Word History: Today's Good Phrase dates back to the game of cricket as played during the Victorian era (1837-1901). A bowler who retired three batsmen in a row was rewarded with a new hat or an equivalent gift for his accomplishment. Once the term was associated with a triple accomplishment, it quickly passed on to other sports: hockey, soccer, even horse-racing, where the Triple Crown in the US is often referred to as a hat trick. May your favorite team produce a hat trick or two in the Finals!
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Postby tcward » Fri Jun 09, 2006 12:16 am

So this is a kind of trifecta... Seinfeld fans would appreciate that term more. ;)




Postby bnjtokyo » Fri Jun 09, 2006 3:15 am

I learned this idiom fairly recently and had been wondering about its origin. There didn't seem to be any reason to associate hats with three successes, but now I know. I guess skillful bowlers must have closets full of hats!

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Postby Stargzer » Fri Jun 09, 2006 2:03 pm

My first introduction to this term was back in college. Being in Massachusetts, "Da (Boston) Bruins" were the favored hockey team, except for those students from New York, who of course were Rangers fans. "Hat Trick" was explained to me as a bit of magic, as in "He pulled that one out of his hat," just as a magician would perform a bit of magic by pulling a rabbit out of his hat.

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