tail·​gate | \ ˈtāl-ˌgāt How to pronounce tailgate (audio) \

Definition of tailgate

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a board or gate at the rear of a vehicle that can be removed or let down (as for loading)
2 [from the custom of seating trombonists at the rear of trucks carrying jazz bands in parades] : a jazz trombone style marked by much use of slides to and from long sustained tones
3 US : tailgate party Nowadays, tailgates have evolved into mobile feasts: face-to-face social networks where complete strangers bond over food and drink, and everyone is eager to share.— Greg Ferro


tailgated; tailgating

Definition of tailgate (Entry 2 of 3)

intransitive verb

1 : to drive dangerously close behind another vehicle
2 US : to have a tailgate party

transitive verb

: to drive dangerously close behind



Definition of tailgate (Entry 3 of 3)

: relating to or being a tailgate party

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Other Words from tailgate


tailgater noun

Examples of tailgate in a Sentence

Verb He hit the car in front of him because he was tailgating. They started tailgating at 10 o'clock.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The site will open four hours prior to kickoff and feature TVs for live college football game viewing and tailgate games. Ben Flanagan | Bflanagan@al.com, al, 24 Sep. 2021 Still, the atmosphere was surprisingly festive—more football tailgate than memorial service. Dhruv Khullar, The New Yorker, 20 Sep. 2021 Every Tundra's tailgate can be released by a button on the key fob, and crew-cab models come with either a 5.5- or 6.5-foot bed, while the extended cab configurations can be equipped with a 6.5- or 8.1-foot bed. Connor Hoffman, Car and Driver, 20 Sep. 2021 Garcia, 48, who is originally from Mexico City and now lives in Rosedale, was hosting four Ravens fans who live in Mexico for their first official game and tailgate. Ryan Mcfadden, baltimoresun.com, 19 Sep. 2021 Responding to fan demand on social media, Fogo will host a pop-up tailgate at the Brewers’ home game against the St. Louis Cardinals for a one-time-only event outside the Third Base Gate on Sept. 22. Mike Hart, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 14 Sep. 2021 Instead of a spare tire mounted on the EQG's tailgate, there's a storage box that can hold a charging cable. Peter Valdes-dapena, CNN, 5 Sep. 2021 As summer nears its end, the city of South Euclid still has two outdoor events planned for September -- an Intersection after-work party, and a Cleveland Browns football tailgate/watching gathering. cleveland, 3 Sep. 2021 The hood ornament features the Montreal logo, which is also stitched into the front seat and painted on the tailgate and side panel. Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, 18 July 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb When returning to Baltimore for Ravens games, celebrity chef Duff Goldman has been known to tailgate outside M&T Bank Stadium, much to the delight of passers by who recognize him. Christina Tkacik, baltimoresun.com, 13 Sep. 2021 The Detroit Tigers also played against the Tampa Bay Rays at Ford Field, but the Lions game was the first in which Detroit football fans could go out and tailgate in a somewhat normal way since COVID-19 first arrived. Jasmin Barmore, Detroit Free Press, 12 Sep. 2021 Kevin Wittman, of Sylvania, loves to tailgate with friends and family in the Muni Lot before the games. cleveland, 6 Sep. 2021 Through it all the 18,782, many of whom showed up early to tailgate, tried to find reasons to cheer, but were offered few. Dom Amore, courant.com, 4 Sep. 2021 Food and drink pavilion off Great Lawn Construction also is happening near the Great Lawn, where Arizona Cardinals fans tailgate outside State Farm Stadium. Joshua Bowling, The Arizona Republic, 20 June 2021 The Maverick's Flexbox and tailgate offer a few peculiar solutions. Austin Irwin, Car and Driver, 8 June 2021 An investigation by the South Florida Sun Sentinel last year found that the FHP rarely patrols the state’s busiest interstate, allowing dangerous and drunken drivers to speed or tailgate for miles without ever encountering a state trooper. Wayne K. Roustan, sun-sentinel.com, 6 May 2021 Its styling is much more purposeful, with a general-issue Ford grille, C-clamp head and taillights and tailgate. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, 9 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective This year’s lone Intersection will be followed two days later, on Sept. 12, with an outdoor, tailgate-style viewing of the Browns season opening game against the defending American Football Conference champion Kansas City Chiefs. cleveland, 11 Aug. 2021 Dirt work also is ongoing in the northeastern edge of the property, once a popular tailgate area in the outer ring of the A and B sections, now the future location of residential and retail buildings. San Diego Union-Tribune, 3 July 2021 Although the Hillsboro Airport show was canceled for 2021, the show planned for the McMinnville Airport will be held in a tailgate/drive-in format featuring the USAF Thunderbirds. oregonlive, 1 June 2021 According to friends on Facebook, Maggie loved to laugh - and make other people laugh - and spend time with her family and friends at tailgate parties and black-tie gatherings alike. Kc Baker, PEOPLE.com, 15 June 2021 Tyler Gargas, 21, of Crown Point, Indiana, was attending his first Indy 500 in 10 years and shared a tailgate spot with his mom in spot 18 of the parking lot. Dan Gelston, ajc, 30 May 2021 Professional sports are finally coming back again, which means a return to the days of tailgate parties and parking lot cookouts. Anna Lane, USA TODAY, 27 May 2021 Ford suggested that for tailgate parties, Lightning owners could skip the cooler and just put a mini refrigerator in the bed and plug it in. Sam Abuelsamid, Forbes, 20 May 2021 Guests have been practicing their tailgating set-ups by booting up at their cars this winter, and there should be a vibrant tailgate scene this spring. Roger Sands, Forbes, 9 Mar. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tailgate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of tailgate


1854, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1949, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1


1962, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for tailgate

Time Traveler

The first known use of tailgate was in 1854

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Dictionary Entries Near tailgate



tailgate party

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Statistics for tailgate

Last Updated

26 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tailgate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tailgate. Accessed 27 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for tailgate



English Language Learners Definition of tailgate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a door at the back of a vehicle (such as a station wagon or pickup truck) that opens downward and that can be lowered or removed to make it easier to load things into the vehicle



English Language Learners Definition of tailgate (Entry 2 of 2)

: to drive too closely behind another vehicle
: to have a tailgate party


tail·​gate | \ ˈtāl-ˌgāt How to pronounce tailgate (audio) \

Kids Definition of tailgate

: a panel at the back end of a vehicle that can be lowered for loading and unloading

More from Merriam-Webster on tailgate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tailgate

Nglish: Translation of tailgate for Spanish Speakers


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