"That's a great deal to make one word mean," Alice said in a thoughtful tone. "When I make a word do a lot of work like that," said Humpty Dumpty, "I always pay it extra."

Friday, 2 January 2009

Hat Trick

On 2nd January 1994 Toronto haberdasher Sammy Taft died. The term "hat trick" was allegedly coined in the 1930s when Taft told ice hockey player Alex Kaleta that he would give him the hat that he had been admiring if Alex scored 3 goals in that night's game. Kaleta did so, and the term has been used ever since.


  1. You have competition for the definition:-

    Extended Oxford English Dictionary 1999 Edition : "It came into use after HH Stephenson took three wickets in three balls for the all-England eleven against the twenty-two of Hallam at the Hyde Park ground, Sheffield in 1858. A collection was held for Stephenson (as was customary for outstanding feats by professionals) and he was presented with a cap or hat bought with the proceeds."
    ^ The Oxford Companion to Australian Cricket (Oxford University Press, 1996) mentions that the word hat-trick was used in print for the first time in The Sportsman to describe Spofforth clean bowling three consecutive batsmen in the match against Hastings and Districts at the Oval on 29 August 1878. Spofforth did take a hat-trick and nine wickets in 20 balls against the XVIII of Hastings and Districts in 1878 (not a first class match), but the dates are incorrect.

  2. I always prefer Oxford English Dictionary definitions to any other so I'll go with your H H Stephenson one!