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[teyl-geyt] /ˈteɪlˌgeɪt/
the board or gate at the back of a wagon, truck, station wagon, etc., which can be removed or let down for convenience in loading or unloading.
verb (used without object), tailgated, tailgating.
to follow or drive hazardously close to the rear of another vehicle.
verb (used with object), tailgated, tailgating.
to follow or drive hazardously close to the rear of (another vehicle).
pertaining to or set up on a tailgate:
a tailgate picnic before the football game.
1850-55, Americanism; tail1 + gate Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for tailgating
  • Warm up game day with great, easy-to-transport tailgating recipes.
  • tailgating life is easier when your game starts in mid-afternoon or later.
  • tailgating season is here, but this year there's no reason to settle for sub-par snacks.
  • tailgating goes pretty much with any sport and other outdoor events as well.
  • tailgating is always dangerous, but tailgating a large truck or bus is especially dangerous.
  • Following too closely, or tailgating is a common violation.
  • tailgating always is dangerous, but it is especially dangerous to follow a truck too closely.
British Dictionary definitions for tailgating


another name for tailboard
a door at the rear of a hatchback vehicle
to drive very close behind (a vehicle)
Derived Forms
tailgater, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for tailgating
1868, back panel on a wagon, hinged to swing down and open, from tail + gate. Extended by 1950 to hatchback door on an automobile. The verb meaning "to drive too close behind another vehicle" is from 1951; tailgate party "party or picnic at the open tail-gate of a parked car" is attested from 1970.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for tailgating


  1. To follow another car, truck, etc, dangerously closely; hightail: drove her car behind him, tailgating him between red walls of dead brick
  2. To watch girls go by (College students)
  3. To join what one says closely to what has just been said; dovetail (Army)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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