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1. In cricket, three wickets knocked off by a bowler in three consecutive deliveries. First used to describe H.H. Stephenson's accomplishment of such in 1858, and so named because he was allegedly awarded a new hat afterward. He came amazingly close to securing a hat trick, but the third batter managed to dash his hopes by scoring a run.
2. In sports, especially hockey or football (soccer), three goals or points scored by a single player in one game or match. Fans' hats littered the ice to celebrate the player's hat trick, his fourth so far this season.
3. Three consecutive wins or achievements by a single athlete, such as winning three consecutive major tournaments in tennis or golf. Matthews has been playing the best golf of her life this year, and she is poised to secure a hat trick if she wins the Ladies European Tour next month.
4. In baseball and softball, three home runs in a single game. Fans were on their feet for her hat trick as her third home run sailed into the bleachers.
5. In baseball and softball, three strike outs in a single game. With such a terrible performance so far, the team's star player has been relegated to the dugout after getting a hat trick.
An extremely clever or adroit maneuver, as in It looked as though the party was going to achieve a hat trick in this election. The term originated in cricket, where it refers to three wickets taken by a bowler in three consecutive balls, traditionally rewarded with the presentation of a hat. It later was transferred to ice hockey, soccer, and baseball, where it denotes three consecutive successes (goals, hits), and then to more general use.
a hat trick
n. three successes in a row. (Typically, three hockey goals by one player, and other scoring in threes in other sports. Extended use covers three same or different sexual “scores” (see score) by a person in a period of time.) Walter pulled a hat trick, and the fans roared.