Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A series of scandals occurring during the Nixon administration in which members of the executive branch organized illegal political espionage against their perceived opponents and were charged with violation of the public trust, bribery, contempt of Congress, and attempted obstruction of justice.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • proper n. An American political scandal (beginning with a burglary in the Watergate Hotel in Washington, DC in 1972) that eventually led to the resignation of US President Richard Nixon.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • A gate, or valve, by which a flow of water is permitted, prevented, or regulated.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A gateway through which water passes, or a gate by which it may be ex cluded or confined; a flood-gate.
  • n. A gate by which access is gained to a river, fountain, well, or other body or supply of water.
  • n. A water-plug or valve.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. regulator consisting of a valve or gate that controls the rate of water flow through a sluice
  • n. a political scandal involving abuse of power and bribery and obstruction of justice; led to the resignation of Richard Nixon in 1974

Etymologies

After Watergate, a building complex in Washington, D.C., the site of a burglary (1972) that gave rise to the scandals.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From the name of the Watergate Hotel; the complex itself was named after the "Water Gate" area where symphony orchestra concerts were staged on the Potomac River between 1935 and 1965. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Don, even the term Watergate was brought up today in the hearings, believe it or not.

    CNN Transcript Sep 28, 2006

  • Thanks in part to the investigative efforts of reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, the term Watergate came to signify a scandal involving the misuse of power; and a decade later journalists were still using phrases such as industrial Watergate, French Watergate, and Irish Watergate to label corruption in high places.

    VERBATIM: The Language Quarterly Vol XI No 3

  • I believe that the constant use of that background by my colleagues and myself, long after anything was happening in that building, was what gave the scandal the name Watergate.

    Staying Tuned

  • These are what often come to mind when people hear the word Watergate.

    CNN.com

  • Damn you DNC for having offices in Watergate, now every “scandal” is ended with a gate on it.

    Think Progress » Palin blames ‘Gore-gate’ for ‘this snake oil science stuff.’

  • “Damn you DNC for having offices in Watergate, now every “scandal” is ended with a gate on it.”

    Think Progress » Palin blames ‘Gore-gate’ for ‘this snake oil science stuff.’

  • Nixon went down in Watergate, of course, and I have to say, reading about the closing years of Jack Anderson's journalistic career is kind of sad.

    Nixon's Failed Attempts At 'Poisoning The Press'

  • So Nixon's paranoia really goes back to the very beginning, and the paranoia that would ultimately bring his destruction in Watergate had some basis in fact.

    Nixon's Failed Attempts At 'Poisoning The Press'

  • After all, this is the party of Richard Nixon, who denied his part in Watergate, Ronald Reagan, who denied his part in Iran-Contra, and Bush/Cheney, who denied everything from lying to illegal surveillance to torture.

    Democrats accuse GOP of inciting mobs

  • The telecast – called “Justice Sunday” - is sponsored by fundamentalist right-wing Christian groups and will also include “Dr. James C. Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family; Chuck Colson, the born-again Watergate figure and founder of Prison Fellowship Ministries; and Dr. Al Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary,” according to The New York Times.

    Clergy Leadership Network

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Comments

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  • "I can't stand it. I know you planned it.
    I'mma set it straight, this Watergate.
    I can't stand rocking when I'm in here--
    'Cause your crystal ball ain't so crystal clear."

    --Beastie Boys, "Sabotage"

    March 19, 2011