Gadgets – A Very Short History
A gadget is anything ingenious or a complex device made by man. Gadgets can be called as amazing innovations made by man in the technological sphere. Gadgets include electronic, electrical, hybrid and mechanical devices. These gadgets have a wide range of applications and serve multiple purposes. A number of these devices are small, portable and hand-held in size whereas others are huge and heavy. A gadget may comprise of digital apparatus, mobile phone, music system, camera, video camera, microwave, personal computer, gaming console, smoke detector, radio, laptop, watch, compact disc, DVD player, television and more.
GADGET has a great number of synonyms including: gadgetry, device, tool, implement, piece of equipment, device, apparatus, tool or appliance, small tool or utensil and more. To give a clear illustration of the word gadget, you can think of a matchbox, a calculator, a clock, a toaster, a pair of pliers, a pin, a key or a door knob as a gadget. GADGET has so many applications that it is termed as a very versatile word or term.
A small tool may be described as a hand-held mechanical device with one or more functions such as measuring, cutting, polishing, etc. These tools are often referred to as mittens, spoons or knives. A device which is used for knitting, sewing or shaping is called a gadget. First used in the 17th century as a term for a hand tool for knitting needles, a gadget was later adopted as a slang word for something hand-held, portable and sometimes powered. In technical jargon, a gadget is defined as any machine, implement or piece of equipment which performs a particular function with an external device or by means of internal mechanisms. It can also be defined as a product which is used for the production of another product.
The word gadget dates back to the early modern period, but its original meaning is not clear. The origin of the word may be from the French word “gauduit” (a small hand-held mechanical instrument). Other etymological sources indicate that it might be derived from the German word “geistseln” (a tiny hand-held calculating instrument). The origin of the word gadget is therefore from the Italian word gadgeto which means a small hand-held mechanical instrument. The modern application of the term gadget is found in computer jargon, as a synonym for computer chip.
The term gadget can also be used in business contexts, though generally when referring to specific pieces of hardware devices. For instance, a computer, a fax machine or a printer are all considered to be gizmos by most business people. When describing a software program, the term is often used to describe the programming language used by the software itself (a programming language, or SDK, is a series of instructions, codes, etc. delivered via a CD-ROM or other digital delivery media that enables a software program to be executed within the operating system).
Today the meaning of the word gadget has evolved. While originally a hand-held calculating device, gizmos today typically include cell phones, MP3 players, laptop computers and other electronics. In corporate contexts, gizmos are now sometimes called “gadgets,” even though that word is usually reserved for electronic products such as computers, calculators and printers. This changing usage of the term suggests that our use of the term has become more inclusive in today’s usage, in line with our expanding definition of the word.