Hat Trick!


Magician and HatMy daughter Kerri scored three goals in her soccer game last week, so I decided to talk about the term hat trick. It’s more common in hockey than soccer, but footballers use the expression too: someone who scores three goals in a game has accomplished a hat trick. It’s an odd expression, right? What’s a hat got to do with scoring goals?

Apparently, the expression has its roots in cricket. In the mid 19th Century, a bowler who retired three consecutive batters with three deliveries (a very rare feat) would be awarded a gift in honor of the accomplishment. This was normally in the form of a hat. Then, in the early part of the 20th Century, the term was adopted by professional hockey when a team sponsor, who happened to be a milliner, offered a free hat to any player who scored three goals in a game.

As is usually the case, there is some debate about this account, but this seems the most likely explanation. It works for me anyway. Maybe I should buy Kerri a hat?

Update: As it turns out, the folks at Merriam-Webster have chosen this same term for an informative video they provide on their search pages. If you can’t hear it, uncheck mute; I think it’s automatically muted. They give the same explanation, but it’s in an engaging video format.

About the Author

Brian WaskoBrian is the founder and president of One of his passions is to teach young people how to write better.View all posts by Brian Wasko

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