[tan-duh m]


one following or behind the other: to drive horses tandem.


having animals, seats, parts, etc., arranged tandem or one behind another.



    in tandem,
    1. in single file: They swam in tandem.
    2. in association or partnership.

Origin of tandem

1735–45; special use (orig. facetious) of Latin tandem at length, finally, equivalent to tam so far + -dem demonstrative suffix
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tandem

Contemporary Examples of tandem

Historical Examples of tandem

  • I wouldn't have troubled you to send for me, only the tandem's hors de combat.

    Frank Fairlegh

    Frank E. Smedley

  • "Because I intend to back the tandem into it, and break my neck," was the unexpected answer.

    Frank Fairlegh

    Frank E. Smedley

  • He did not want a tandem bicycle, but that influenced him not at all.

  • He was a first-rate driver; he could take a four-in-hand or a tandem as easily as a pair.

    Black Beauty

    Anna Sewell

  • Next to a leisurely walk I enjoy a "spin" on my tandem bicycle.

    Story of My Life

    Helen Keller

British Dictionary definitions for tandem



a bicycle with two sets of pedals and two saddles, arranged one behind the other for two riders
a two-wheeled carriage drawn by two horses harnessed one behind the other
a team of two horses so harnessed
any arrangement of two things in which one is placed behind the other
in tandem together or in conjunction


British used as, used in, or routed through an intermediate automatic telephone exchangea tandem exchange


one behind the otherto ride tandem

Word Origin for tandem

C18: whimsical use of Latin tandem at length, to indicate a vehicle of elongated appearance
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

Word Origin and History for tandem

1785, "carriage pulled by horses harnessed one behind the other," punning use of Latin tandem "at length (of time)," from tam "so" + demonstrative suffix -dem. Transferred by 1884 to bicycles with two seats.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper