Archives for posts with tag: Invention

I like reading interviews with well known people when they’re asked the question: what is the best invention ever?

For me, the greatest invention of all time, as far as it impacts on my daily life, is the dishwasher. It’s a massive time-saver, time spent on that most tedious of chores.

I’m reminded of this every time my mother hosts a dinner in her apartment, because she doesn’t have one of these magical appliances. My mother would not be shy in using implements in the creation of one of her masterpieces. It’s not unheard of for one of her boys to come from the washing up into the living room to say: Look Mum, I found something in the kitchen you didn’t use!

I’ve briefly touched on the satisfaction of using this appliance before. You stack your dirty stuff, throw in a tab, set the program and close that sucker up. Return a couple of hours later and it’s all done, ready for you or an offspring to load the shelves and cupboards. You can also get cute and stack your dirty things in a way that makes it easier to put the clean stuff back. Awesome.

I realise that this is not the most earth-shattering or uplifting answer to the best invention question, but for me it’s one I’m thankful for every single day. Now if they could figure out a machine that will allow you to wash everything…

Hat-trick is an odd word isn’t it? I often think of it as one word, but in fact it’s two. It sounds odd too, when y0u pronounce it as two separate words.

The word is another of those coinages born out of sport, like three-peat which I’ve enthused about recently. It came about a long time ago when a chap managed to get three people out with 3 consecutive balls at cricket and his colleagues stumped up some cash and bought him a hat. Where the trick part comes from I don’t know, unless you could argue that it’s the three-in-a-row trick that gets you the hat.

Hat-trick doesn’t work as well as three-peat for my money, and it’s also evolved in meaning too, since you can score a hat-trick of goals, tries or wins, but they don’t necessarily have to be in a row. Someone from either team could have the effrontery to score before you can convert your brace to a triple, treble or hat-trick.

I wonder why getting four wickets in a row hasn’t become a coat-trick, or something more valuable than a hat as a reward, since they’re a particularly rare beast. Four goals, five, even the ‘double hat-trick’ of 6 goals – does that warrant getting 2 hats? – are more common in football, but alas there is to my knowledge no corresponding new coinage.

Three-peat is an amazing, radical, glorious word. It is at the same time testimony to the malleability of the English language and to the habit of continuous invention and reinvention by the American people.

For some exhibitors of sporting prowess, it’s not enough to win back-to-back victories, to repeat their success. They go one better, winning three-in-a-row, the three-peat.

For me, the fact that three-peat is the addition of a suffix to a word that immediately conveys the meaning of the word while also conveying the root of the inspiration is almost too perfect.

It feels as natural as the progression of billion to trillion, and bigger to biggest. It also illustrates the inventiveness of US sporting journalism, that it can concoct these words and make new additions – like ‘winningest’ for example – to an already vast lexicon of sporting descriptors.

Long may it continue, or repeat.