Saturday, April 19, 2008

Word of the Week: gadget

I love dictionaries to begin with, but every now and then I come across a definition that is so simple, and yet so apt, that I am awestruck. That happened to me this week when I looked up gadget.

Before I tell you the dictionary definition of gadget, let me tell you about the conversation that caused me to look it up. A friend and I were at a café and someone jogged by. My friend noticed that the runner had something on her arm and I speculated that it might be a heart rate monitor. My friend hadn’t heard of such monitors (other than those used in hospitals) so I explained the little I know about them.

Despite my positive comments about them for training purposes, my friend dismissed it as a mere gadget. That launched us into a discussion of what constitutes a gadget. After some back and forth we pretty much agreed that a gadget might be handy, but it isn’t necessarily necessary.

When I got home, I was curious about the definition, so I looked it up. Well, here's how defines gadget: “an often small mechanical or electronic device with a practical use but often thought of as a novelty”. BINGO! (Use of the phrase"thought of" strikes me as bang on because that makes the test subjective. In other words, with a gadget, the novelty aspect is in the eye of the user. Too true...)

Anyway, heart rate monitor aside, doesn’t the simplicity of that definition just take your breath away? Bravo!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

But this oregon scientific heart rate monitor is well and truly a gadget! It talks to you and lets you know about your heart rate. There is no need to wear a wrist watch! Not only that, when it is not talking to you, you can listen to the radio!

10:31 a.m.  

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