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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