Definitions

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

  • n. A hinged board or closure at the rear of a vehicle, such as a pick-up truck, that can be lowered during loading and unloading. Also called tailboard.
  • n. One of the pair of gates downstream in a canal lock.
  • transitive v. To drive so closely behind (another vehicle) that one cannot stop or swerve with ease in an emergency.
  • transitive v. Slang To follow closely behind (another person), as in gaining access to an area requiring the use of an electronic identification card.
  • intransitive v. To follow another vehicle too closely.
  • intransitive v. To participate in a picnic that is served from the tailgate of a vehicle, as before a sports event.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A hinged board or hatch at the rear of a vehicle that can be lowered for loading and unloading; a tailboard.
  • n. The hinged rear door of a hatchback.
  • n. Either of the downstream gates in a canal lock.
  • v. To drive dangerously close behind another vehicle
  • v. 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.
  • v. (of a broker) To privately purchase or sell a security immediately after trading in the same security for a client.

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

  • n. a gate at the rear of a vehicle; can be lowered for loading
  • v. follow at a dangerously close distance

Etymologies

From tail + gate. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • My tailgate is always up with a dead animal in the back.

    You have killed a deer and are hauling it home in the back of your pick up truck. Tailgate up or down?

  • With months to go in tailgate season, if you are decked out from head-to-toe in team regalia but feel there’s still something missing, maybe what you need is a gargantuan rig shaped exactly like a football.

    Smoke Signals: Get your game grill on

  • "It's an honor to be invited into someone's home to eat, and the tailgate is the home brought to the parking lot," he says.

    The Top Tailgating Towns

  • In our Road Test of the crossover SUV, we noted that “many testers complained about the tailgate, which is awkward to grasp and heavy to lift and lower.”

    Ford Edge: Give it a hand

  • A tailgate is a precursor to the big game, so organize one.

    The Swell Dressed Party

  • The tailgate is our last stand before we head to the game later, but we're looking sharp and the food is solid.

    The Full Feed from HuffingtonPost.com

  • Its mainstay is fall and the football season, when cornhole is also known as "tailgate toss" a name that might sound better to folks who prefer to avoid the rude double entendre.

    NYT > Home Page

  • This week's App Smart column identified new apps that help people maximize their success in an activity largely dominated by carnivores - namely the tailgate party.

    NYT > Home Page

  • If you're cruising in your crossover and hear an oddly familiar "Beep-Beep" from behind, but all you'll can see in the mirror of the car tucked under your tailgate is a black vinyl roof framed by what looks like flattened orange road cones bridged by a thin fibreglass blade, hold onto your steering wheel, that ain't no cartoon Road Runner looking for a way to blow by.

    The Globe and Mail - Home RSS feed

  • The new one-hand operation of the tailgate is a further practical detail that enhances comfort.

    Automotive Headlines

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