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[teyl-geyt] /ˈteɪlˌgeɪt/
the board or gate at the back of a wagon, truck, station wagon, etc., which can be removed or let down for convenience in loading or unloading.
verb (used without object), tailgated, tailgating.
to follow or drive hazardously close to the rear of another vehicle.
verb (used with object), tailgated, tailgating.
to follow or drive hazardously close to the rear of (another vehicle).
pertaining to or set up on a tailgate:
a tailgate picnic before the football game.
Origin of tailgate1
An Americanism dating back to 1850-55; tail1 + gate1


[teyl-geyt] /ˈteɪlˌgeɪt/
noun, Jazz.
a style of playing the trombone, especially in Dixieland jazz, distinguished especially by the use of melodic counterpoint and long glissandi.
First recorded in 1945-50; so called from the usual seat of trombonists in trucks carrying musicians during a parade Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for tailgate
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The hounds were snapping furiously as they tried to leap over the tailgate.

    Collectivum Mike Lewis
  • On the tailgate was spread, three times a day, the jolly good meals that pioneer mothers knew how to cook.

    Strange Stories of the Great Valley

    Abbie Johnston Grosvenor
  • There was a tailgate lowered, forming a ramp; above it, the huge double doors opened on a cavern of blackness.

    Security Poul William Anderson
British Dictionary definitions for tailgate


another name for tailboard
a door at the rear of a hatchback vehicle
to drive very close behind (a vehicle)
Derived Forms
tailgater, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for tailgate

1868, back panel on a wagon, hinged to swing down and open, from tail (n.) + gate (n.). Extended by 1950 to hatchback door on an automobile. The verb meaning "to drive too close behind another vehicle" is from 1951; tailgate party "party or picnic at the open tail-gate of a parked car" is attested from 1961.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for tailgate



  1. To follow another car, truck, etc, dangerously closely; hightail: drove her car behind him, tailgating him between red walls of dead brick
  2. To watch girls go by (College students)
  3. To join what one says closely to what has just been said; dovetail (Army)
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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