1. A hinged part that extends across the rear of a pickup truck or other vehicle and can be folded down or to a horizontal position for loading and unloading.
2. One of the pair of gates downstream in a canal lock.
v. tail·gat·ed, tail·gat·ing, tail·gates
To drive so closely behind (another vehicle) that a collision is likely if that vehicle brakes suddenly.
1. To follow another vehicle too closely.
2. To participate in a tailgate party.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.