Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Widget is a general-purpose term, or placeholder name, for any unspecified device, including those that have not yet been invented. It is commonly used in textbook and other examples where the identity of the product or function is irrelevant and could be distracting: students may be asked to design a business plan for the XYZ Widget Company. Compare Acme.
The alt.usage.english FAQ gives the origin of "widget" as the 1924 play "Beggar on Horseback ", by George Kaufman and Marc Connelly, as an invented term for the product manufactured by one of the characters; that the protagonist never learns just what "widgets" are is part of the point. The Oxford English Dictionary traces its usage only back to 1931, in a volume of American Speech.
Though "widget" usually refers to small unspecified devices, it has, in a strange twist, become the name of certain specific ones as well.
Floating widget in canned beer
The floating widget found in cans of beer is a hollow sphere, 3 cm (1.2 in) in diameter. The can is pressurized by adding liquid nitrogen, which evaporates after the can is sealed, forcing gas and beer into the widget's hollow interior through tiny holes. When the can is opened, the pressure in the can drops, causing the pressurized gas inside the widget to jet out from the holes. The holes in the widget are angled slightly so that the widget spins, creating a creamy head inside the can. This imitates the foamy head created when pouring draught beer. The original widget was patented in the UK by Guinness for its stout in the late 1980s.
Graphical component in computing
Device in Marvel Comics
See Widget (comics).
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details