Also: Ride someone’s bumper
Meaning of Idiom ‘Tailgate’
To tailgate means to drive dangerously close behind another car or vehicle on the road. 1Brenner, Gail Abel. Webster’s New World American Idioms Handbook. Wiley, 2003.,2Burke, David. The Slangman Guide to Street Speak 2: the Complete Course in American Slang & Idioms. Slangman Pub., 2016.
When a driver is said to be tailgating, the implication is often that they are doing so deliberately and carelessly. 3Brenner, Gail Abel. Webster’s New World American Idioms Handbook. Wiley, 2003.
Someone who tailgates is a tailgater.
Examples Of Use
“My nerves are shot. This fellow tailgated me all the way to work and the traffic was too heavy to change lanes.”
“If there is one thing I hate it’s a tailgater!”
“I wish the police would give out more tickets for tailgating. It’s more dangerous than speeding.”
“This car has been riding my bumper for miles.”
Used since at least the 1970s.
Although the term tailgate, today, almost always refers to the hinged gate at the back of a pickup truck, it has been used to refer other vehicles with back gates which open into cargo or passenger compartments, such as station wagons, hatchbacks, vans, and utility vehicles.
A bumper is a horizontal bar fixed to the back of a vehicle, intended to reduce damage when the back of the vehicle is struck by another.
More Idioms Starting with T
- Take Your Lumps
- Throw Down the Gauntlet
- Till the Cows Come Home
- Think Twice
- There’s No Accounting for Tastes
More Automotive Idioms
More Driving Related Idioms
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Sources [ + ]
|1, 3.||↲||Brenner, Gail Abel. Webster’s New World American Idioms Handbook. Wiley, 2003.|
|2.||↲||Burke, David. The Slangman Guide to Street Speak 2: the Complete Course in American Slang & Idioms. Slangman Pub., 2016.|