a hat trick when you haven’t got shit your entire life

Discussion in 'English Only' started by chopin7, Jan 15, 2018.

  1. chopin7 Senior Member


    It's the movie "I, Tonya" about Tonya Harding.
    There's here mother talking,
    "Tonya’s my fifth child from husband number four.
    She was always a handful.
    And I guess we spoiled her.
    Which is a goddamned hat trick when you haven’t got shit your entire life."

    I am not very sure about this.
    So, hat trick is some kind of a triple success.
    But what's the justification for using it here?
    Or she is just saying? Any idea?

    Thank you
  2. The Newt

    The Newt Senior Member

    USA / EEUU
    English - US
    Being able to spoil her is a major achievement when you've been poor all your life. Literally "a hat trick" is three goals in hockey, but the idea here is just "a feat."
  3. chopin7 Senior Member

    Thank you, Newt.
  4. Andygc

    Andygc Senior Member

    British English
    I think you mean "figuratively". A hat trick is, as the OED puts it, "Any trick with a hat; spec. a magic trick in which the magician appears to produce an item, traditionally a rabbit, from an empty hat".

    Figuratively it also means a bowler taking three wickets in consecutive balls in a game of cricket (1868), which probably pre-dates scoring goals in hockey. It's used in many sports to mean a sequence of three achievements by the same person, later becoming common outside a sporting context with a similar meaning.
  5. The Newt

    The Newt Senior Member

    USA / EEUU
    English - US
    Good point, but I think "hat trick" has acquired a second literal meaning (in hockey and other sports), which itself can be used figuratively. My understanding is that the origin of hockey's "hat trick" was that fans would throw their hats on the ice in tribute to the player who scored three goals.
  6. Szkot Senior Member

    UK English
    Are you sure it's a hat trick? - a hard trick would make sense. It's difficult to spoil someone when you have nothing.
  7. The Newt

    The Newt Senior Member

    USA / EEUU
    English - US
    I suspect "hat trick" would be the natural expression from a skating family.
  8. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    It's far from clear how the "three in a row" sense of "hat trick" could apply in the context set out in post #1.
    Perhaps it's just an expression of exceptional success rather than a measured comment.
  9. The Newt

    The Newt Senior Member

    USA / EEUU
    English - US
    That's what I think it is. A hat trick is a feat, derived from its specific hockey usage which requires three goals.
  10. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    I go along with the OP simply meaning an outstanding accomplishment:)

    We've been here before :) ( Hat trick )

    From the wiki
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2018
  11. Trochfa

    Trochfa Senior Member

    English - England

    I think that that is how it is being used here, as well. We get so used to "a hat trick" in the sense of three achievements that we naturally start looking around for the three items which would comprise that set of three. Here, I think the meaning is essentially "which is [like] a goddamned hat trick when you haven't got shit all your life".
  12. Jimbob_Disco

    Jimbob_Disco Senior Member

    British English (England)
    I think it’s safe to say that, in this context, ‘hat-trick’ means ‘miracle’, rather than ‘three in a row’.
  13. chopin7 Senior Member

    Thanks, everybody!

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