MacGyver: Both Noun and Verb


The train was out of control, speeding down the tracks towards the tight curve running through the small town. The villain fried the electrical systems, and the train, which happened to be carrying nuclear waste, was going to crash. The hero stirred, rubbing his head from the blow, staggered to his feet. He shook the cobwebs from his head and realized the train was going to crash in less than five minutes. After glancing around the room, only a small storage cabinet stood out. Nothing seemed useful in the cabinet, just some scrap paper, paper clips, and wait, there was a book of matches as well. He quickly grabbed everything and headed for the door leading up the to the train engine. A smile formed on his lips, and he patted his pocket containing his old, worn Swiss Army Knife, and proceeded to save the town from imminent destruction.

This may not have been a plot from the MacGyver TV show, but it could have been. Anyone who saw the show back in the 1980’s can remember the miracles he performed to save the day. Whether MacGyver created an explosive device to escape from a jail cell, or created a laser from a couple of jewels to slice through something, MacGyver had the ability to save the day by using his mind. I have many fond memories of this show, and really appreciated how he would save the day without the need for violence. Each episode was a testament of the mind. Intelligence and science could be used in practical (at least within the parameters of the show) ways to achieve results.

Recently, I saw where the word MacGyver is now a verb, and it’s about time. As stated by the Oxford Dictionary:

“MacGyver Syllabification: Mac·Gy·ver

Pronunciation: /məˈɡīvər/

Definition of MacGyver in English:


[with object] US informal

Make or repair (an object) in an improvised or inventive way, making use of whatever items are at hand: he MacGyvered a makeshift jack with a log he has a pair of rectangular-framed glasses MacGyvered with duct tape

More example sentences


1990s: from Angus MacGyver, the lead character in the television series MacGyver (1985–1992), who often made or repaired objects in an improvised way.”

We all need MacGyver back on TV today, or at least some form of it in a new show. In an age of reality TV, mindless sitcoms, or endless talent/contest shows, we need to celebrate science and knowledge. The political climate of today challenges science as an institution, casting doubt and using disinformation to skew findings and results. Tuition keeps increasing, making higher education harder for middle and lower earning families. To have someone who uses intelligence as a weapon is always refreshing. Part of my love of the show is that he never carried a gun or firearm (sorry NRA, he may not be your poster boy), but always used his knowledge of science and experience to save the day. We need a MacGyver to inspire children to learn and become scientists and engineers.

MacGyver, as a verb, is long overdue and should be celebrated. The ability of being able to use innovation and creativity should be something we all strive for. We need to celebrate science and education. Forget mindless American Idol, or Dancing with the Stars. Forget about rubbish like Duck Dynasty, Survivor, and Big Brother. Free your minds and learn something. Let’s get more shows like MacGyer back on the air, showcasing what a smart protagonist can do, and how anyone can do it. Yes, it was only a TV show and everything was scripted and written out, and sure, parts were far-fetched, but the spirit of using the ability of the mind over brute force was solid and inspiring.

Now, let me go out and get my trusty Swiss Army Knife and some paper clips and save the day.

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