Widget (1924?)

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Sun Sep 1 03:57:42 UTC 2002

   "Widget" is another one of those "origin unknowns," but supposedly from "gadget."  OED's first citation is from AMERICAN SPEECH in 1931.  Merriam-Webster has 1926.

   6 June 1925, NEW YORK TIMES, pg. 9:
   He is impressed by the loud golf stockings worn by Frederick Cady, the great and self-satisfied manufacturer of "widgets."

   This is from a review of the film BEGGAR ON HORSEBACK, by George S. Kaufman and Marc Connelly.  Their play appeared on Broadway in 1924.
   Unfortunately, NYU doesn't have a copy of the play.  (It's at the New School in NYU's Bobcat catalog.)  There's a note that the play is based on Paul Apel's HANS SONNENSTOSSERS HOLLENFAHRT (Oesterheld & Co. Verlag, Berlin, 1911).  NYU has _this_ (Don't ask why!), but I didn't see "widget."
   It certainly looks like "widget" is a product of the fertile mind of George S. Kaufman.  The big mystery here is this: why has no one heard of George S. Kaufman?

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