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


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 tailgate-style event, dubbed the Gardens University, will also feature fun raffles, games, popcorn and root beer kegs. Doreen Christensen, sun-sentinel.com, "College students get $40 in free cash at the Gardens Mall on Saturday," 7 Aug. 2019 Aluminum doors, door hinges, hood, fender flares, windshield frame and tailgate help hold the curb weight to 4,672 pounds. Mark Maynard, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Jeep Gladiator: the mudder of midsize pickups," 14 July 2019 Ram pickups with manually locking tailgates are not affected. Clifford Atiyeh, Car and Driver, "FCA Recalls 410,000 More Ram Pickups For Tailgates That Can Suddenly Drop Down," 21 May 2019 The Trump campaign lined up entertainment and food trucks for a tailgate-style party ahead of the event, drawing crowds that arrived hours ahead of time. Christina Prignano, BostonGlobe.com, "Three takeaways from Trump’s campaign kickoff rally in Orlando," 19 June 2019 The tailgate has been reworked to integrate the license plate. Stacy Argo, Houston Chronicle, "Sleek, modern shower doors provide streamlined look," 8 July 2018 With 240 square inches of space, the fan-favorite grill can cook up to 15+ servings at a time, making it a no-brainer for those bigger tailgates. Rebekah Lowin, Country Living, "This Grill Has Over 1,000 Glowing Reviews on Walmart—and It’s on Sale for Less Than $60," 30 May 2019 This particular tailgate group outside of Talen Energy Stadium featured three generations of men from the Fein family. John Smallwood, Philly.com, "Union must not take patience of fans for granted | John Smallwood," 14 Apr. 2018 And, of course, there’s a trick tailgate that can either swing down or open barn-door style. Ezra Dyer, Popular Mechanics, "The 2019 Popular Mechanics Automotive Excellence Awards," 16 Apr. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Reporter Hannah Drown will be broadcasting live video from the tailgating hot spot multiple times before the game begins. Hannah Drown, cleveland.com, "Watch live tailgating videos inside Muni Lot with Hannah Drown before Cleveland Browns preseason game," 8 Aug. 2019 Good luck with tailgating for those 9 a.m. kickoffs ... Jeremy Cluff, azcentral, "Pac-12 football schedule 2019: 'Breakfast with the Pac-12' could join 'Pac-12 After Dark'," 25 July 2019 Parking lots will open at 2:00 p.m. for tailgating with bands, food and beer. Slade Rand, courant.com, "Hartford has it: City prepares for jam-packed weekend of fireworks, soccer, baseball, music and beer," 10 July 2019 Live music, tailgating games and giveaways are planned, too. Liz Biro, Indianapolis Star, "Help Indy set a 'Guinness Book' world sandwich-making record and meet Adam Richman," 22 May 2019 Jenelle Evans pulled out her gun after another driver tailgated her and cut her off on the highway with her 8-year-old son in the passenger seat. Cydney Henderson, USA TODAY, "Police: ‘Teen Mom 2’ star Jenelle Evans 'fabricated' dog killing story for 'publicity'," 11 July 2019 Outside Bridgeview’s bleak Toyota Park in the season ticket holders lot, a few fans were tailgating, some cooking carne asada on their grills, others cooking brats. John Kass, chicagotribune.com, "Chicago Fire fans want Tom Ricketts to buy their team, too," 10 May 2018 While soccer — or futbol — was the main attraction, fans used the occasion to tailgate and showcase their team loyalties. Times Staff, latimes.com, "At the Mexico vs. Cuba Gold Cup game, it's all about the pre-match entertainment," 15 June 2019 Laspadas Original Hoagies: Subs are packed with meats that are sliced and then tossed theatrically between counter workers onto hoagie rolls, a football flourish at a regional chain popular with Dolphins fans for tailgating. Michael Mayo, sun-sentinel.com, "Publix subs are good (but not with chicken tenders). These are better. Our critic rates local sub shops.," 13 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

In addition to world-class equestrian competitions, there will be a tailgate competition for those testing their culinary and creativity prowess from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sunday, July 14. Joan Rusek, cleveland.com, "Chagrin Valley Little Theatre presents its 10-10 Festival of one-act plays: Valley Views," 24 June 2019 That may exceed the tailgate’s load-bearing capacity. Dan Neil, WSJ, "A Luxury Truck Showdown: Ram 1500 vs. GMC Sierra," 11 Oct. 2018 The Sierra’s tailgate-forward marketing only proves how competitive this segment is. Dan Neil, WSJ, "A Luxury Truck Showdown: Ram 1500 vs. GMC Sierra," 11 Oct. 2018 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

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

15 Aug 2019

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)

chiefly US : 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
US : 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

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More from Merriam-Webster on tailgate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tailgate

Spanish Central: Translation of tailgate

Nglish: Translation of tailgate for Spanish Speakers

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 usually brief trip or an expedition

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