a mechanical contrivance or device; any ingenious article.

Origin of gadget

1850–55; origin uncertain; compare French gâchette the catch of a lock, sear of a gunlock
Related formsgadg·et·y [gaj-i-tee] /ˈgædʒ ɪ ti/, adjective

Synonyms for gadget Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for gadget

Contemporary Examples of gadget

Historical Examples of gadget

  • He stayed on because he wanted to find out what the trick was that made the gadget work.

    Toy Shop

    Henry Maxwell Dempsey

  • With that gadget there, we can pick it up and throw it away.

    The Black Star Passes

    John W Campbell

  • Rummy as the gadget might appear, it had been the right thing to do.

    Jill the Reckless

    P. G. (Pelham Grenville) Wodehouse

  • I had made this gadget—it was a toy for children as far as I was concerned.

    By Proxy

    Gordon Randall Garrett

  • But I thought I'd have a chance to take any gadget he was hiding away from him first.

    The Winds of Time

    James H. Schmitz

British Dictionary definitions for gadget



a small mechanical device or appliance
any object that is interesting for its ingenuity or novelty rather than for its practical use
Derived Formsgadgety, adjective

Word Origin for gadget

C19: perhaps from French gâchette lock catch, trigger, diminutive of gâche staple
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for gadget

1886, gadjet (but said to date back to 1850s), sailors' slang word for any small mechanical thing or part of a ship for which they lacked, or forgot, a name; perhaps from French gâchette "catchpiece of a mechanism" (15c.), diminutive of gâche "staple of a lock."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper