What is a gadget?

Gadgets, also known as gizmos, are small devices or machines that have a particular purpose or function. They tend to be practical while at the same time novel. 

Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary defines gadget as “a small device or machine with a particular purpose”.

Most gadgets are designed to help us complete tasks or do something useful for us. 

According to Lexico, the word probably originates from the French word gâchette ‘lock mechanism’ or from the French dialect word gagée ‘tool’. The first printed appearance of the word dates back to 1886, in the book Spunyarn and Spindrift by Robert Brown. 

Many gadgets, such as modern smartphones, have completely revolutionized the way we do things. Because of smartphones we can now send emails on the go, take high quality photos, and easily upload and share content to social media directly from our mobile phones. 

It should be noted that as a gadget become more widely and commonly used, it is no longer referred to as a gadget.

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Examples of gadgets:

  • Smartphones
  • Tablets
  • Laptop computers
  • Digital cameras
  • GPS devices
  • Noise-canceling headphones
  • Bluetooth headsets
  • Robot vacuums
  • Smart speakers
  • Video game consoles
  • Smartwatches
  • Portable battery packs
  • Smartphones
  • VR headsets

Other meanings

In software, the word gadget is also used as another name for a widget (an additional feature or extension to a software program).

According to Computer Hope, the term gadget is also used to refer to “an additional feature that can be added into the Windows Vista Sidebar.” However, the widget engine known as Windows Desktop Gadgets was discontinued in Windows 8.