n. 1. Main character
of an action/adventure TV show
by the same name; full name Angus MacGyver; part secret agent, part handyman, part environmentalist; hated guns (only time he ever used
a gun was to remove the revolving part of a revolver to use the rest of the gun as an improvised wrench to stop the meltdown of a nuclear reactor). 2. Action/adventure TV show
of the 1980's; also
a short series
-for-TV movies after
was cancelled. 3. a person who uses improvisation
and available materials to handle a difficult/impossible
v. 1. to handle a difficult situation through improvisation
using only available materials. 2. to do an impossible
activity. 3. to get the impossible
girl (MacGyver had a different girl in every episode).
Note: the latter
two verb definitions almost made
it into the Webster Dictionary as slang because of their wide use by street gangs in LA in the 1980's (this was revealed by Richard Dean Anderson, the actor who portrayed MacGyver, on a Good
Morning America episode). It was also
mentioned that (supposedly) for one hour every week, gang activity decreased dramatically in LA because all of the gangs were indoors watching the TV show
Note: It should also
be noted that materials used
to make explosions on the TV show
always had an ingredient or two left
out so that they could not be repeated
by viewers. The show
help from CalTech students with
some of its tricks.
In the first episode, MacGyver
used the lactose and sugars
in chocolate bars
to stop a dangerous acid leak. Other episodes included, but were
DEFINITELY NOT limited to...
out of a freezer using heat from the lights to melt
ice, the run-off running down a metal slat
to the freezer's latch, which then refroze, expanding and breaking
the latch, openning the door.
...using a CO2 fire extinguisher, a wedge, and water to freeze the water in a crack in a boulder, expanding it so that
the boulder broke apart and fell from a cliff to smash/disable
a Russian APC.
...hiding a rebar inside a rolled
up map so that
it could later be used as a disguised weapon.
... placing a metal bowl on a food
processor so that
it would spin slowly, catching all of the electronic "hash" (white noise) generated by the rest
of the kitchen
equipment turned on to jam a micro-camera's transmission, giving MacGyver
and friends a place to talk and plan without being eavesdropped on; in the same episode, using the motor of a small kitchen
appliance, batteries, a belt, a small cart (like those used by typical hotel room service), and a helm from a suit of armor to provide a moving
target to distract
motion sensor-targetted machine guns so that
Mac could escape
from the booby-trapped mansion.
recent "MacGyverisms," interested
parties should see the movie "Chain
Reaction," in which Keneau Reeves plays
-like hero who is thrust into
a thrilling, domestic CIA, conspiracy theory adventure. He uses the same MacGyver
style to defeat his opponents: jury-rigging
a flat-bottomed boat with a fan-drive so that
he and Rachel Weisz can make a getaway, attaching
to a moving
belt to pull down a scaffold
on the muscle chasing them, etc.
should also note that
the entire series is on DVD, either by season or collected into
one huge set covering every