- For other meanings see Tailgate (disambiguation).
Tailgate is an American English word denoting the door or access 'gate' at the back of a station wagon, pickup truck, sport utility vehicle (SUV) or other similar type of vehicle that is hinged at the bottom and can be opened for the convenience of loading cargo into the rear of the vehicle. Traditional U.S. station wagons included a roll down window. Because of the potential for carbon-monoxide fumes, the tailgate window on station wagons should be closed whenever the engine is running. A similar vehicular feature, the hatch, hatchback or liftgate, is a door at the back of a vehicle that is hinged at the top and opens upward.
In modern usage, the word tailgate may refer to a true tailgate, a hatchback, or a lateral opening door (hinged on the left or right side) in the back of a pickup truck, wagon, or SUV.
In British English, the tailgate is commonly referred to as the 'boot' and sometimes called the hatch, and is a door on the back of a vehicle that can be moved either up or down, such as on a pickup truck or hatchback.
Tailgates can also be furnished with additional accessories like a "pocket" for storage purposes. Traditional station wagon and pickup tailgates can also serve as a mount for a workbench.
The following terms were derived from the noun tailgate:
- Driving closely behind another vehicle
The verb to tailgate refers to the practice of driving closely behind the rear fender of a preceding vehicle.
- Entering an area without authorization verification
The term also refers to closely following someone, such as through a door or gate, where individual passes may be required, also known as "piggybacking".
- Tailgate party
The term tailgate party refers to the practice of engaging in a social drinking and/or eating event that uses the tailgate or back of truck, wagon, or SUV as a buffet table.
See also 
- The World Book Dictionary. World Book. 2003. p. 2137. ISBN 9780716602002. Retrieved 20 November 2012.
- Norbye, Jan P.; Dunne, Jim (May 1975). "Intermediate Wagons". Popular Science 206 (5): 38. Retrieved 20 November 2012.
- "Autos". Boys' Life 59 (4): 15. April 1969. Retrieved 20 November 2012.
- Hartford, Bill (November 1971). "Front wheel drive to the fore!". Popular Mechanics 136 (5): 128. Retrieved 20 November 2012.
- Thomas, H.M. (May 1973). "Tailgate workbench for your station wagon or pickup". Popular Mechanics 139 (5): 67. Retrieved 20 November 2012.
- Mort, Norm (2010). American Station Wagons: The Golden Era 1950-1975. Hubble & Hattie. ISBN 9781845842680.
- Olsen, Byron (2000). Station Wagons. Motorbooks. ISBN 9780760306321.
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