Definition of tailgate in US English:



  • 1A hinged flap at the back of a truck that can be lowered or removed when loading or unloading the vehicle.

    • ‘This is the smell of farmer's markets, where cantaloupes spill onto the lowered tailgate of pickup trucks; a few enticing slices propped up near the edge for sampling.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Gough, had secured the staging with a strap because it was too long to fit inside the truck's tailgate.’
    • ‘Employees sell merchandise off truck tailgates and from the back of aircraft so that troops can at least buy the essentials - like toiletries, socks and underwear.’
    • ‘The android made slow progress, and she was impatient, so she went outside to the truck and lowered its tailgate.’
    • ‘The tailgate hinges on both the side and the bottom so you can get into the trunk without sprawling across a filthy expanse of sheet metal.’
    • ‘I remember one evening at the fair grounds we all sat on the tailgate of Papa's truck and watched the men roll out the canvas and place the poles.’
    • ‘He shook his head again and lowered the truck's tailgate, pulling out the ramp.’
    • ‘I opened the tailgate and got in the bed of the truck.’
    • ‘In the middle, the Sharan has large hinged doors, which, like the tailgate, leave plenty of room to load and unload bulky objects.’
    • ‘He grabs the last kitchen box and follows Richard out the back door, which is propped open, and places the boxes on the tailgate of his truck.’
    • ‘Sure enough, Sean and Marshall were sitting on the tailgate of his truck.’
    • ‘A clanging of tailgates announced the arrival of the trucks that would carry the crews to the equipment shacks, and then to their aircraft.’
    • ‘West Vancouver's Deputy Fire Chief Gerry Harrington got his first taste of firefighting as a boy, riding on the tailgate of the fire truck as his father drove out to calls.’
    • ‘Victor stood and opened the tailgate of his truck.’
    • ‘They opened the tailgates to the trucks and pulled off a large protective canvass.’
    • ‘At the same moment, the truck swayed as the tailgate opened, and the thin officer let out a long impressed whistle.’
    • ‘Colorful truck tailgates become benches and railings, and pop-out rear car windows become display shelves.’
    • ‘Farm workers around the base climbed off tractors, removed hats from their heads and put them over their hearts, and a little boy stood at attention and saluted from the tailgate of a pick-up truck by an onion field.’
    • ‘They ran along with the trucks and, not waiting for the tailgate to open, leapt up.’
    1. 1.1 The door at the back of a station wagon.
      • ‘You use the key for the doors and the tailgate as well as the fuel filler, glovebox and console bin.’
      • ‘The Intelligent Key allows the doors and tailgate to be locked and unlocked, and the engine started without having to insert either a key or a card into the vehicle.’
      • ‘There is also a special compartment in the tailgate which houses a warning triangle for use if the event of a breakdown, a legal necessity abroad.’
      • ‘In fact she was out of the wagon, leaning heavily on the tailgate with one hand clutched against the bandages.’
      • ‘We crossed over onto the prom, squeezing between the bumpers and tailgates of near stationary cars with less grace and confidence than the mocking seagulls.’
      • ‘Auto Parts Deal has a great variety of stylish and high quality exterior auto parts for the Dodge Omni including Dodge tailgates, Dodge fog lights, Dodge grill, chrome or silver Dodge grille guard and Dodge headlights.’
      • ‘It features an ingenious, ‘one-motion’ rear seat and an automatic tailgate that can be fully opened and closed at the press of a button.’
      • ‘Past them and further down the road, a young woman in shorts, T-shirt and a peaked cap with ‘B’ embroidered on it has the tailgate of her SUV open.’
      • ‘The Washu concept is a 6-seater, has sliding rear doors, and a tailgate that opens in two sections with the glass hinged upwards in hatchback fashion while the lower panel drops straight down.’
      • ‘This can be surprisingly useful when loading heavy objects and it gives the added bonus that smaller items will not roll out if it is necessary to open the tailgate when you are parked facing uphill.’
      • ‘On the outside, only the tailgate, doors and roof panel are unchanged from the standard Focus.’
      • ‘The teenager was unconscious as firefighters from Devizes released her by forcing open the tailgate and rear passenger door.’
      • ‘The tailgate is unusual in being hinged deep into the roof and having a separately opening window that allows the loading of shopping or other small items in a restricted parking space.’
      • ‘Thankfully the Avensis has now been returned to the Company Car fold as good as new with its new tailgate and bumper.’
      • ‘The Enterprise has a two-piece rear door, with the top hinged curved glass tailgate opens at the touch of a button to allow access, even if another vehicle is parked close to the rear.’
      • ‘It is more sporty and good-looking, nice and comfortable inside with attractive dashboard design, and also provides a top-hinged tailgate with a flip-up window.’
      • ‘The evidence indicates that the tailgate of the Savannah estate opened as the combination came to rest.’
      • ‘Everything else about the exterior of the car is the same, including the rear doors and tailgate.’
      • ‘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.’
    2. 1.2North American A social gathering at which an informal meal is served from the back of a parked vehicle, typically in the parking lot of a sports stadium.
      as modifier ‘they turned the parking lot into a huge tailgate party’
      ‘who would have thought it would get him like this, returning after all these years for a tailgate before a football game?’
      • ‘The tailgate continues with beer pong, pop-up tables and chairs and even a DJ to rock your bus.’
      • ‘Once the pan has been removed from the oven and the crackers are completely cooled, transfer them into whatever container you're bringing to the tailgate.’
      • ‘10: 15 a.m. - We head to the tailgate party for the 1,600 Pats fans that signed up for the trip.’
      • ‘Facebook, Twitter and texting are the easiest ways for you to plan your tailgate.’
      • ‘At tailgate parties, we've grilled everything from fish to pork to chicken.’
      • ‘But unless you are in high school, or at a tailgate party before a football game, or at a classic car concours d' elegance, parking lots are not the kind of place you want to hang around.’
      • ‘Saturday they had a tailgate party at the University of Washington for the class of 1990 Husky; Sunday was a big family barbecue.’
      • ‘No one seemed to think twice about driving so far for a gig, and the car park was awash with tailgate parties.’
      • ‘Down by the oyster bar the atmosphere is like a tailgate party.’
      • ‘The house-smoked loin of pork is prepared on a Li'l Chief smoker (the kind you see at football tailgate parties).’
      • ‘At the company's Norfolk, Va., location, the sales force held an open house with a homecoming theme and tailgate party.’
      • ‘A tailgate party is under way on somebody's front lawn.’
      • ‘It's the season for leaf raking, pumpkin picking, cider sipping, and tailgate parties.’
      • ‘While you're baking - why not make dessert for your next tailgate?’
      • ‘The NFL approached the group about headlining Thursday's free concert, which is being promoted as a massive tailgate party.’
      • ‘Baseball fans enjoy a tailgate party ahead of the Cubs-Marlins game at Pro Player Stadium in Miami, Florida, Friday.’
      • ‘Enjoy this hearty dish during a tailgate for a real game winner.’
      • ‘His parents would journey to Calgary four or five times a year and hold memorable tailgate parties.’
      • ‘Just like in professional sports, these college fans geared up hours before kickoff with tailgate parties and mammoth quantities of beer.’
      • ‘The team will sell hot dogs at tailgate parties to raise money for ConAgra's Feeding Children Better initiative for the homeless and underprivileged kids.’
  • 2as modifier Denoting a style of jazz trombone playing characterized by improvisation in the manner of the early New Orleans musicians.

    • ‘On most of these cuts you will hear Lloyd Hebert playing impeccable Cajun tailgate trombone in solos and ensembles.’
    • ‘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.’


  • 1with object Drive too closely behind (another vehicle)

    ‘he started tailgating the car in front’
    no object ‘drivers who will tailgate at 90 mph’
    • ‘Suddenly there were all these cars trying to overtake me, tailgating me, blowing their hooters, angrily gesturing for me to get out of the way.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘When traveling in heavy rush hour traffic I mentally tag a few cars desperately tailgating and weaving.’
    • ‘If you don't tailgate and therefore avoid unnecessary braking and acceleration, you can increase consumption by 5-10 per cent.’
    • ‘Speed limits mean nothing to some people and if you try to adhere to the rules of the road they tailgate in an attempt to push you along faster and faster.’
    • ‘The man tailgated us for a little while and finally turned off onto I - 77.’
    • ‘A survey of 837 drivers who use their cell phones behind the wheel found that almost half swerved or drifted into another lane, 23 percent had tailgated, 21 percent cut someone off, and 18 percent nearly hit another vehicle.’
    • ‘On the ride back along Chef Highway, the car behind us tailgated for a while.’
    • ‘It is also hoped the message will stop drivers exceeding the speed limit themselves, to escape the threat of others tailgating them.’
    • ‘Worse, on a seriously winding and narrow road, like the one up the Thames coast, I am tailgated by drivers who then pass on blind corners, sounding their horns.’
    • ‘Make sure you have time to respond safely to improper behavior and unsafe actions of others by not tailgating or speeding.’
    • ‘Our levity turned to fear a few minutes later on Interstate 20 as a car raced up from behind us and began to tailgate us.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Within several moments, he is behind us, tailgating Aaron's car.’
    • ‘Rather than explain things that respectful people do - choose safe speeds, not tailgate and so on - we need to teach motorists how to be respectful.’
    • ‘Aggressive driving consists of cutting other drivers off, tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic, running stop lights and stop signs, and trying to intimidate people by blowing the horn or gesturing obscenely at them.’
    • ‘It is about time speed limits were reviewed both up and down by the road traffic engineers and then strictly enforced with speed cameras, and taking action against bad driving, like tailgating, jumping traffic lights and not signalling.’
    • ‘The driver flashed his lights and tailgated him for a couple of hundred yards.’
    • ‘Leave proper following distance between you and the vehicle ahead of you - tailgating is dangerous.’
    • ‘Even in good conditions 70 miles per hour on the motorway is a potentially lethal speed if you are tailgating the car in front.’
    1. 1.1 Gain unauthorized entry to a secured area by closely following someone with authority to enter.
      ‘a Toyota pickup tailgated the delivery vehicle into the prison’
      ‘three boys tailgated a group of tourists into the theater’
      • ‘In the first incident three men tailgated a customer to breach security and get into the Stanley Albion Casino on Cromwell Road, Pendleton, Salford.’
      • ‘In commercial burglaries, often offenders are tailgating through doors and lifts.’
  • 2North American no object Host or attend a social gathering at which an informal meal is served from the back of a parked vehicle, typically in the parking lot of a sports stadium.

    ‘Lot 16E is reserved for alumni who wish to tailgate before the game’
    • ‘Jets owner Leon Hess felt the city parks department, which operated Shea Stadium, did not provide enough portable johns for fans tailgating in the parking lot before games.’
    • ‘The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation will be tailgating in style at noon Sunday, Sept. 12, when it holds its annual Gourmet Tailgate Party at the Terrace Suite at Alltel Stadium.’
    • ‘He rarely missed a Penn State football game - or the tailgating that accompanied it.’
    • ‘Students began tailgating six hours before game time.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He lowered some season-ticket prices, helped establish tailgating at games and created a much more fan-friendly atmosphere.’
    • ‘You could almost squeeze the adult population of Green Bay into Lambeau Field, with the rest tailgating in the parking lot, guzzling beer, chomping cheese and watching the game on battery-operated television sets.’
    • ‘For this reason it is always better to err on the cool side as the wine will normally warm up a bit in the glass or decanter unless you're tailgating in December in Minneapolis.’
    • ‘Re-create the feel of being at the game and hold the first part of the party on the driveway as if you are tailgating.’
    • ‘This will help to stagger the cars but also allow you to have a better parking spot, and in turn more time to tailgate.’
    • ‘Since then, I've enjoyed NFL games on the tube and in the stands; I've tailgated, wagered amongst friends, thrilled at the unpredictability of the annual playoff chase… and been utterly annoyed by replay.’
    • ‘Barbecue grills typically used for tailgating in the parking lots were pressed into duty as space heaters, and free coffee was poured for those who dared to make a party of it.’
    • ‘A group of guys will go to a Patriots game with a 30-below wind-chill factor, and they'll be out there tailgating at 6 in the morning.’
    • ‘I met Carol Tess, who has been tailgating with her husband, Tom, for more than 30 years.’
    • ‘Patriots fans really tailgate with the best they have, making it an enjoyable time for all.’
    • ‘The students will still tailgate, the seats will still be filled, and players can still come play Penn State football - just not for free.’
    • ‘There are many, many cars, and lots of people tailgating, with circles of lawn chairs and barbecues and shockingly large piles of empty beer cans.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In an ominous sign for Western civilization, Bills fans began parking RVs and mobile homes in the stadium lot on Thursday night to get the best spots for tailgating.’
    • ‘Personal chef Angela McArthur understands the attraction of tailgating - she met her husband at an Oakland Raiders pregame party in 2001.’