from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.
- noun Three goals scored by one player in one game, as in ice hockey.
- noun Three wickets taken in cricket by a bowler in three consecutive balls.
- noun Three consecutive wins or outstanding accomplishments by the same individual, such as a jockey in horse racing.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.
- noun cricket Three
wicketstaken by a bowlerin three consecutive balls.
- noun ice hockey Three
goals scoredby one player in a game, usually followed by a shower of hats onto the ice.
- noun sports, by extension Three
achievementsin a single game, or similar, such as three consecutivewins.
- noun baseball, sarcastic Striking out three times in one game.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- noun (sports) three consecutive scores by one player or three scores in one game (as in cricket or ice hockey etc.)
from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
[From the hat with which the feat was traditionally rewarded in cricket.]
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
c.1877, originally from cricket, meaning taking three wickets with three consecutive bowls. This extended to other sports. Allegedly because it entitled the bowler to receive a hat from his club, or perhaps it entitled him to pass the hat for a cash collection.
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