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

In the meantime, house parties and tailgates will have to do. Scott Patsko, cleveland.com, "Browns TE Pharaoh Brown: ‘It’s ridiculous. Everybody’s a Browns fan now’," 5 Sep. 2019 Aft, the lamps emphasize a horizontal theme, and the tailgate is now a one-piece unit for a sportier look. Arv Voss, Houston Chronicle, "Land Rover Discovery updated for 2019," 20 July 2019 Pancakes will remain only a term for categorizing adept run blocking and not serve as a pregame tailgate meal in the Pac-12, at least for the 2019 football season. James Crepea | The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive.com, "Pac-12 will not have 9 a.m. kickoffs in 2019," 22 Aug. 2019 The Sunshine and The Sweet Green are personal favorites—to bring to a tailgate. Joan Niesen And Laken Litman, SI.com, "The Greatest College Town Eats," 12 Aug. 2019 The tailgate is handy for seating, sheltered by the liftgate. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Rolls-Royce Cullinan SUV: a royal rite of passage," 2 Aug. 2019 Soehn doesn’t bring the fancy, craft beer to the Magic City Brigade’s tailgate. Joseph Goodman | Jgoodman@al.com, al, "Game of season here for Birmingham Legion FC," 26 July 2019 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Drug abuse, Ridgewood Drive: On Aug. 9, police observed a vehicle tailgating the car in front of it on Ridgewood Drive. John Benson, cleveland.com, "Parma man with warrant and marijuana arrested: Parma Heights Police Blotter," 21 Aug. 2019 TxDOT offered some helpful points in a press release: Tips for Drivers Sharing the Road with School Buses • Never tailgate. Tracy Maness, Houston Chronicle, "Watch your speed, be alert and obey laws as new school year starts," 13 Aug. 2019 The President’s Club and Executive Club members and their guests have been treated to Broadway shows, wine pairing dinners, the Wisconsin Breast Cancer Showhouse Event, multiple Brewer games and tailgating for the staff members and so much more. Shorewest, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Shorewest – A Home Away from Home," 4 May 2018 Fans who want to tailgate together must arrive together. Ed Masley, azcentral, "What you need to know about the Rolling Stones concert at State Farm Stadium," 20 Aug. 2019 More recently, Lewis has enjoyed spending time with his wife Joanne boating, driving the corvette, tailgating at UConn football games, and vacationing in Cape Cod. courant.com, "Lewis I. Davidson," 19 Aug. 2019 Skipping from thread to thread felt a bit like arriving at a party where half the room was sipping non-alcoholic shrubs and the other half had spent the afternoon tailgating in a stadium parking lot. Anna Wiener, The New Yorker, "The Lonely Work of Moderating Hacker News," 8 Aug. 2019 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

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

12 Sep 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

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).


one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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