tail·gate | \ˈtāl-ˌgāt \

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


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

Agents discovered $51,040 cash, which was the proceeds of a two-kilogram cocaine delivery, concealed in a hidden compartment of the truck's tailgate, according to prosecutors. John D. Harden, Houston Chronicle, "Baytown man pleads guilty to federal drug, money laundering violations," 12 June 2018 The final piece of this do-everything package is not part of the tailgate itself. Tony Markovich, Car and Driver, "Here Are All Six Things the 2019 GMC Sierra’s Wild MultiPro Tailgate Can Do," 2 Mar. 2018 The Navajo County Sheriff's Office said that sparks from a vehicle dragging a tailgate started the fire along State Route 377 near Heber on Monday afternoon. Kelsey Mo, azcentral, "Brush fire in Navajo County up to 1,500 acres, zero containment," 5 June 2018 The loadout: Chrysler officials made note of the high-strength steel throughout the truck but pointed out the lightweight aluminum hood and tailgate. Scott Sturgis, Philly.com, "2019 Ram 1500 - bigger, faster, hungrier," 28 Apr. 2018 Other exterior changes include five new wheel designs and lightweight aluminum hood and composite tailgate. Mark Phelan, USA TODAY, "Review: New looks, engine reboot Jeep Cherokee for 2019," 6 Apr. 2018 Other exterior changes include five new wheel designs and lightweight aluminum hood and composite tailgate. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, "Review: 2019 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk powers ahead with new engine, looks," 4 Apr. 2018 Parts that swing, including doors, the hood and the tailgate, are lighter aluminum, but the frame and stationary parts such as the bed, are steel. Chicago Tribune, chicagotribune.com, "Pickups, SUVs are king of the hill for 2019," 18 Jan. 2018 But there were many weight-saving tricks applied, such as using advanced high strength steel in more than half of the structure with aluminum for the hood, tailgate, brake calipers and many suspension pieces. Mark Maynard, sandiegouniontribune.com, "2018 Kia Niro PHEV: The future of plug-and-play," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Nothing is better for tailgating, sitting around the campfire or your next fishing or hunting excursion. Sarah Sekula, Fox News, "16 Father's Day gifts for the rad dad who loves the outdoors," 7 June 2018 Like so many Central Florida teenagers, Zach Berman grew up a Gator fan, attending plenty of football and basketball games in Gainesville and tailgating at an annual homecoming party that draws big-name talent like Snoop Dogg. Annie Martin, OrlandoSentinel.com, "High school grads flood Florida colleges with applications," 28 Apr. 2018 Here are just a few key rules for tailgating at Miller Park. Nancy Stohs, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Time to tailgate: Spruce up your opening day with regional favorites," 29 Mar. 2018 According to police, the victim reported that the driver of the other car had been tailgating him and used a racial slur prior to the altercation. Pioneer Press, chicagotribune.com, "Thieves steal merchandise from retailer, cause 3-car collision during police pursuit: Niles police," 9 July 2018 But the team doesn't have enough land to let thousands of fans tailgate on their property. Steve Harrison, charlotteobserver, "NFL stadiums are more luxurious than ever. Here's how the Panthers could keep up.," 5 July 2018 Fans started tailgating in the parking lots early Thursday morning at Kauffman Stadium. Pete Grathoff, kansascity, "Why the Royals' pitchers were doing pregame fielding drills Saturday | The Kansas City Star," 31 Mar. 2018 Bring a grill to tailgate in the parking lot, and grab a beer afterward at the Red Lodge Ales Brewing Company. Megan Michelson, Outside Online, "How to Ski All Summer Long," 5 July 2018 Last weekend, there was heavy traffic and another car was basically tailgating us. Amy Dickinson, chicagotribune.com, "Husband and wife disagree over work-life balance," 29 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Add on a prep board for the ultimate campsite, party, or tailgate accessory. Sunset, "10 Gourmet Gifts for Foodie Dads," 22 Jan. 2018 Post time for the first race is 1:30 p.m., and tailgate picnics are encouraged. Maryanna Skowronski, The Aegis, "Maryland's steeplechase season kicks off Saturday, April 7, with Elkridge-Harford races," 2 Apr. 2018 Perfect for settling tailgate bets (and dating yourself as an old Brewers fan). Chris Foran, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "11 new baseball books that will help get you ready for opening day," 22 Mar. 2018 That means fans must drink their fill in advance at local bars or at tailgate gatherings in parking lots. Mark Price, charlotteobserver, "Vexing NCAA tournament rule will fuel more beer drinking in uptown Charlotte | Charlotte Observer," 16 Mar. 2018 This is tailgate central, where folks picnic and party while teams pass by. Anchorage Daily News, "Here are 6 of the best places to view the Iditarod ceremonial start," 3 Mar. 2018 Chiefs fans have more reason than most to stay in the parking lot as long as possible, not just because of the concession prices but because of the tailgate scene. Sam Mellinger, kansascity, "Mellinger Minutes: Hosmer’s greatest contribution, trading Marcus Peters (?), 10 key KC athletes, and Bob Huggins," 20 Feb. 2018 Clarkson was one of the tailgate performances Sunday at Nomadic Live at The Armory. Peter Martinez, CBS News, "Super Bowl 2018: Eagles pull off stunning win over Patriots -- live updates," 5 Feb. 2018 Enough framed family pictures to cover every wall at Biltmore, including a large bridal portrait of Sissy hanging in the living room Task-Specific Coolers: the condo cooler, the fishing cooler, the tailgate cooler . . . Southern Living, "We'll Bet These Things Are In Your Southern Home," 20 Jan. 2018

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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Statistics for tailgate

Last Updated

10 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tailgate

The first known use of tailgate was in 1854

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More Definitions for tailgate



Financial Definition of tailgate

What It Is

Tailgating occurs when a broker buys or sells a security after doing the same for a client.

How It Works

Let's say John Doe is a broker for Jane Smith. Jane calls John and tells him she just saw a press release that Company XYZ is bringing in a new hot-shot CEO. She tells him to buy 5,000 shares of Company XYZ for her account. John executes the trade for Jane and then tailgates by buying another 5,000 shares for himself because he has been watching Company XYZ and agrees with Jane that the CEO change should be a good thing for the stockholders.

In some cases, brokers tailgate when the client's order is so large that its execution will affect the price of the security.

Why It Matters

Tailgating is not the same as frontrunning. In frontrunning, the broker executes the trade for his own account before executing the client's trade. In tailgating, the broker executes the trade for his own account after executing the client's trade. Frontrunning is illegal; tailgating is just in poor taste for many reasons, not the least of which is that the broker's job is to make money for his clients and know more than they do.

Source: Investing Answers



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 \

Kids Definition of tailgate

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

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Comments on tailgate

What made you want to look up tailgate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a state of commotion or excitement

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