[ geyt ]
/ geɪt /
Save This Word!
See synonyms for: gate / gated / gates / gating on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object), gat·ed, gat·ing.
(at British universities) to punish by confining to the college grounds.
  1. to control the operation of (an electronic device) by means of a gate.
  2. to select the parts of (a wave signal) that are within a certain range of amplitude or within certain time intervals.
verb (used without object), gat·ed, gat·ing.
Metallurgy. to make or use a gate.
Were you ready for a quiz on this topic? Well, here it is! See how well you can differentiate between the uses of "was" vs. "were" in this quiz.
Question 1 of 7
“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.

Idioms about gate

    get the gate, Slang. to be dismissed, sent away, or rejected.
    give (someone) the gate, Slang.
    1. to reject (a person), as one's fiancé, lover, or friend.
    2. to dismiss from one's employ: They gave him the gate because he was caught stealing.

Origin of gate

First recorded before 900; Middle English gat, gate, geat, Old English geat (plural gatu ); cognate with Low German, Dutch gat “hole, breach”; cf. gate2


gait, gate

Other definitions for gate (2 of 3)

[ geyt ]
/ geɪt /

Archaic. a path; way.
North England and Scot.. habitual manner or way of acting.

Origin of gate

First recorded in 1150–1200; Middle English gate, gat, gata, from Old Norse gata “path, way, road,” Old High German gazza, German Gasse “lane, alley”; perhaps akin to Old English geat gate1; cf. gat3

Other definitions for gate (3 of 3)


a combining form extracted from Watergate, occurring as the final element in journalistic coinages, usually nonce words, that name scandals resulting from concealed crime or other alleged improprieties in government or business: Koreagate.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does -gate mean?

The combining formgate is used like a suffix meaning “scandal (often resulting from a concealed crime)” or “controversy.” It is often used in informal terms, especially in politics and journalism.

The form –gate comes from a shortened form of Watergate, a reference to the White House political scandal that came to light during the 1972 presidential campaign. The scandal centered on a break-in at the Democratic Party headquarters at the Watergate apartment-office complex in Washington, D.C., and, after congressional hearings, culminated in the resignation of President Nixon in 1974.

Examples of -gate

An example of a word you may have encountered that features –gate is Deflategate, a term given to the allegation that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady ordered the deliberate deflation of footballs in the 2014 AFC Championship Game.

The deflate– part of the word means “to release the air or gas from.” As we have already seen, –gate is a combining form meaning “scandal.” Deflategate literally means “deflation scandal.”

What are some words that use the combining form –gate?

  • Bridgegate
  • Choppergate
  • Pizzagate
  • Spygate
  • Taxigate
  • Zippergate

What are some other forms that –gate may be commonly confused with?

Not every word that ends with the exact letters –gate, such as corrugate or subjugate, is necessarily using the combining form –gate to denote “scandal.” Learn why subjugate means “to bring under control” at our entry for the word.

Break it down!

Given the meaning of –gate, what does Taxigate likely refer to?

How to use gate in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for gate (1 of 4)

/ (ɡeɪt) /

verb (tr)

Derived forms of gate

gateless, adjectivegatelike, adjective

Word Origin for gate

Old English geat; related to Old Frisian jet opening, Old Norse gat opening, passage

British Dictionary definitions for gate (2 of 4)

/ (ɡeɪt) /

noun dialect
the channels by which molten metal is poured into a mould
the metal that solidifies in such channels

Word Origin for gate

C17: probably related to Old English gyte a pouring out, geotan to pour

British Dictionary definitions for gate (3 of 4)

/ (ɡeɪt) /

noun Scot and Northern English dialect
a way, road, street, or path
a way or method of doing something

Word Origin for gate

C13: from Old Norse gata path; related to Old High German gazza road, street

British Dictionary definitions for gate (4 of 4)


n combining form
indicating a person or thing that has been the cause of, or is associated with, a public scandalIrangate; Camillagate

Word Origin for -gate

C20: on the analogy of Watergate
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

Other Idioms and Phrases with gate


see crash the gate; give someone the air (gate).

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.