Definition of tailgate in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈteɪlɡeɪt/


1A hinged flap at the back of a truck which may be lowered or removed when loading or unloading the vehicle.
Example sentences
  • The android made slow progress, and she was impatient, so she went outside to the truck and lowered its tailgate.
  • He shook his head again and lowered the truck's tailgate, pulling out the ramp.
  • Some Mikmaw had continued the traditional seasonal eel fishery in the Margaree River, for example, selling a few hundred pounds of fresh eels from the tailgates of pickup trucks each fall.
1.1The door at the back of an estate or hatchback car.
Example sentences
  • Among the auto parts that wear out fast or gets frequently damaged are the body panels and other exterior parts such as the bumper, the door, the tailgate, and the wheels, including the tires.
  • The split tailgate, as opposed to a standard, top-hinged hatchback door, is fun.
  • You use the key for the doors and the tailgate as well as the fuel filler, glovebox and console bin.
1.2North American A social gathering at which an informal meal is served from the back of a parked vehicle, typically in the car park of a sports stadium: here’s a quick and easy recipe for your next tailgate [as modifier]: they turned the parking lot into a huge tailgate party
More example sentences
  • No one seemed to think twice about driving so far for a gig, and the car park was awash with tailgate parties.
  • Saturday they had a tailgate party at the University of Washington for the class of 1990 Husky; Sunday was a big family barbecue.
  • The NFL approached the group about headlining Thursday's free concert, which is being promoted as a massive tailgate party.
2 [as modifier] Denoting a style of jazz trombone playing characterized by improvisation in the manner of the early New Orleans musicians.
Example sentences
  • Rosy's C-Melody sax beautifully sets the scene, but when Schneider takes over it becomes a deft execution of robust slide trombone at its tailgate best.
  • On most of these cuts you will hear Lloyd Hebert playing impeccable Cajun tailgate trombone in solos and ensembles.


1 [with object] Drive too closely behind (another vehicle): he started tailgating the motorist in front
More example sentences
  • Within several moments, he is behind us, tailgating Aaron's car.
  • As an impecunious student, I rashly thumbed a ride from an advertising executive who went for the sound barrier while tailgating the cars in front and playing chicken with oncoming lorries.
  • Mr McKay said the Holden was weaving across the road behind him and then tailgated him bumper to bumper as the two cars made their way out to the Manaia Road intersection.
2 [no object] North American Host or attend a social gathering at which an informal meal is served from the back of a parked vehicle, typically in the car park of a sports stadium: their families tailgated together at Iowa home football games
More example sentences
  • It's amazing to me that at football games, where the crowd has had a chance to tailgate before the game, there is a variety of food.
  • He lowered some season-ticket prices, helped establish tailgating at games and created a much more fan-friendly atmosphere.
  • Among the stadium's comforts are 800 parking spots - great for tailgating - 36 concession stands, a retail store, a video arcade, and a Crew Hall of Fame exhibit.



Example sentences
  • Don't ruin your vacation with an expensive ticket and having your driver's license suspended - obey the speed and look out for tailgaters.
  • Well, I know how to deal with tailgaters; I slowed right down.
  • Whether it's tailgaters or cell phone talkers, life is filled with little annoyances which can add up to big headaches.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: tail|gate

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.