AskDefine | Define tailgate

Dictionary Definition

tailgate n : a gate at the rear of a vehicle; can be lowered for loading [syn: tailboard] v : follow at a dangerously close distance; "it is dangerous to tailgate another vehicle"

User Contributed Dictionary



(US) IPA: /ˈteɪlˌgeɪt/


  1. a hinged board or hatch at the rear of a vehicle that can be lowered for loading and unloading; a tailboard
  2. either of the downstream gates in a canal lock


  1. To drive dangerously close behind another vehicle
    • That idiot has been tailgating me for the last five minutes.

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Extensive Definition

Tailgate is an American English word denoting the door or 'gate' at the back of a wagon, pickup truck, SUV or other similar type of vehicle that is hinged at the bottom and can be opened for the convenience in loading cargo into the rear of the vehicle. A similar vehicular feature, the hatch, hatchback or liftgate, is a door at the back of a vehicle that is hinged at the top and opens upward. In modern usage, the word tailgate may refer to a true tailgate, a hatchback or a lateral opening door (hinged on the left or right side) in the back of a pickup truck, wagon or SUV.
In British English, the tailgate, sometimes called the hatch, is a door on the back of a vehicle that can be moved either up or down, such as on a pickup truck or hatchback.
The verb, to tailgate, refers to the practice of driving closely behind the rear fender of a preceding vehicle. In some municipalities in the United States, this action is illegal and punishable by fine.
The term, tailgate party, refers to the practice of engaging in a social drinking and/or eating event that is based out of the back of one's truck, wagon or SUV. Tailgate parties have become popular in the United States as social gatherings events that take place in stadium parking lots before football games. The use of the tailgate party has spread to the pre-game festivities at sporting events of all kinds (e.g. baseball and soccer) and is also used at non-sporting events such as non-sports-related barbecue gatherings.

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Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

around, bedog, chase, clasp, cling to, come after, come behind, dog, follow, follow close upon, go after, go behind, go with, hang about, heel, hound, hover over, huddle, hug, hug the shore, keep close to, lie by, march with, move behind, pursue, shadow, stand by, stay inshore, stay near, string along, tag, tag after, tag along, tail, trail, trail after, tread close upon
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