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See also: Tailgate


A pickup truck with an open tailgate (1).
The tailgates (3) of Camden Lock are in the foreground.
“No tailgating” sign (verb, sense 2).


From tail +‎ gate.



tailgate (plural tailgates)

  1. A hinged board or hatch at the rear of a vehicle that can be lowered for loading and unloading.
    Synonym: tailboard
    • 2007, Stephen Linn, The Ultimate Tailgater's Racing Guide[1], →ISBN:
      When they first attached tailgates to cars, we were hooked. By the 1970s, wagons with names like Vista Cruiser and Town & Country sported tailgates as big as dining tables.
  2. (Britain) The hinged rear door of a hatchback.
  3. Either of the downstream gates in a canal lock.
    (Can we add an example for this sense?)
  4. (US) Ellipsis of tailgate party.
    • 2013 November 8, Nancy M. Better, “Tailgating Gets Online Playbooks”, in The New York Times[2], →ISSN:
      The website was created by Harry St. John, a former college athlete who wanted to take the agony out of managing tailgates.

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tailgate (third-person singular simple present tailgates, present participle tailgating, simple past and past participle tailgated)

  1. (automotive, intransitive, transitive) To drive dangerously close behind another vehicle.
    That idiot has been tailgating me for the last five minutes.
    • 2002 October 19, Helen Carter, “That's no lady - that's the heiress who taunted neighbours”, in The Guardian[3]:
      She also tailgated them at high speed in her convertible yellow Mercedes.
    • 2013 August 19, Chris Chambers, “Bad driving: what are we thinking?”, in The Guardian[4]:
      Last week the UK government announced a crackdown on unsafe driving. From now on, those of us spotted tailgating or lane hogging will face on-the-spot fines of £100 and three penalty points.
  2. To follow another person through access control on their access, rather than on one’s own credentials, especially when entering a door controlled by a card reader.
    Synonyms: piggyback, draft
    • 2018 September 10, “ABC tightens Sydney security after man allegedly infiltrates building and assaults employee”, in The Guardian[5]:
      An email circulated to ABC employees says Gallagher is believed to have tailgated staff walking through the building’s high-security doors.
  3. (finance, of a broker) To privately purchase or sell a security immediately after trading in the same security for a client.
    Coordinate term: front run
  4. (US, intransitive) To have a tailgate party.
    • 2013 September 29, Ken Belson, “The Tailgate Experience, British Style”, in The New York Times[6], →ISSN:
      The point, Goldstein discovered through a lot of long days hanging out in parking lots, is that tailgating — the gustatory madness, the multigenerational camaraderie, the decked-out vans — is as essential a part of football as the game itself.

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