Imagine you’re lost and alone in mountains, desperately trying to find shelter from an oncoming storm? And somehow you manage to make a tent out of some plastic shopping bags and the contents of your pencil case? That’s all you have but it’s enough to solve the problem. What you’ve done is an example of MacGyvering. Yes! The coolest special agent of 1980’s TV, famous for getting out of trouble using everyday objects, has had an eponym MacGyvered out of his name.
MacGyver is a verb meaning «to make, form, or repair (something) with what is conveniently on hand.»
This is obviously wonderful news, as well as being proof of how much fun there is in observing how the English language develops and takes on new words.
Admittedly, it’s not a verb you’ll have so many opportunities to use, unless you are a secret agent or someone with way too much free time on their hands.
So here a few things we can MacGyver out of what we have here.
- ‘made out of’ is the MacGyver thing. That’s to say when you use something in a way that’s different from what was originally intended. For example, a candle-holder (or a Molotov cocktail) made out of a wine bottle.
- ‘made of’ is when you can see the material used to make it. Maybe the desk you’re sitting at is made of wood.
- ‘made with’ is for the ingredients of food and drinks. Is a Spanish omelette made with or without onions?
- ‘made from’ is used in the sense of manufacturing. So paper is made from trees and plastic is made from oil. The final product doesn’t look anything like the thing it was made from.