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[wij-it] /ˈwɪdʒ ɪt/
a small mechanical device, as a knob or switch, especially one whose name is not known or cannot be recalled; gadget:
a row of widgets on the instrument panel.
something considered typical or representative, as of a manufacturer's products:
the widgets coming off the assembly line.
1925-30; perhaps alteration of gadget Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for widget
  • Start with headlines in the widget and read any story with a single click.
  • They represent the amount of money needed to pay your staff to make one unit of output, one widget.
  • She's talking about a matchbox-sized widget that museums use to monitor humidity and temperature in their galleries.
  • These envelopes have a small widget inside onto which you record a ten-second message.
  • Still, imagine what this little widget could do for your reputation.
  • And they never will until everybody you want to swap details with is using the exact same application or widget.
  • Once inside an app or widget though, you lose those options.
  • Up to a certain point, the more widgets you produce, the cheaper each widget becomes.
  • Bottled and canned versions require the intervention of a tiny beer-widget.
  • But say that widgets in general are dangerous, and widget-makers can do nothing about it.
British Dictionary definitions for widget


(informal) any small mechanism or device, the name of which is unknown or temporarily forgotten
a small device in a beer can which, when the can is opened, releases nitrogen gas into the beer, giving it a head
a small computer program that can be installed on and executed from the desktop of a personal computer
Word Origin
C20: changed from gadget
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
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Contemporary definitions for widget

an element of a graphical user interface such as a button or scroll bar; also, a module of software for a personalized Web page


The widget allows you to have "things to be happy about" on your Web site.

Word Origin

1987's 21st Century Lexicon
Copyright © 2003-2014, LLC
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Word Origin and History for widget
"gadget, small manufactured item," c.1920, Amer.Eng., probably an alteration of gadget, perhaps based on which it.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for widget



: as though it were read aloud from the press release of a widget manufacturer


A mechanical, electrical, or electronic device; gadget, gizmo: It's three floors of sights, sounds, illusions, movements, gadgets, widgets, and gizmos/ not an activity I would recommend to anyone daunted by a widgit more complicated than a stapler (1920+)

[an alteration of gadget, perhaps based on hypothetical which it on the model of whatzit and whoozis]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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widget in Technology

1. A meta-thing. Used to stand for a real object in didactic examples (especially database tutorials). Legend has it that the original widgets were holders for buggy whips. "But suppose the parts list for a widget has 52 entries..."
2. [possibly evoking "window gadget"] In graphical user interfaces, a combination of a graphic symbol and some program code to perform a specific function. E.g. a scroll-bar or button. Windowing systems usually provide widget libraries containing commonly used widgets drawn in a certain style and with consistent behaviour.
[Jargon File]

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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