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to eat from the back of a parked vehicle


to tailgate = ein geselliges Beisammensein zu veranstalten oder daran teilzunehmen, bei dem eine informelle Mahlzeit auf der Ladefläche eines geparkten Fahrzeugs serviert wird — tailgate party = Parkplatz-Party, Picknick auf der Heckklappe eines Autos — tailgate = Hecktür, Heckklappe, Klappe — tailgate wiper = Heckscheibenwischer — tailgate panel = Hecktürblende, Ladeklappe — to tailgate someone = drängeln, (zu) dicht auffahren, jdm. an der Stoßstange kleben



“The majority of Americans consider TAILGATE gatherings to be their favorite annual tradition. The tailgate party is a tradition comprised of the activities that Americans enjoy most: eating, imbibing, and attending a massive entertainment event.”

Jackery — Tailgate Party Ultimate Guide (11th September 2023)

“Still, we were TAILGATING, participating in a Great American Tradition which was, in its own way, even more important than the game. And anyway, cold as the outdoor temps were, we drank beer, cheap canned brew, which was the most important part of the ritual.”

Merrill Shindler — Los Angeles Daily News (9th September 2021)

Did you

verb (informal)

- to host or attend a social gathering at which an informal meal is served from the back of a parked vehicle, typically in the car park of a sports stadium (North American)

- to drive too closely behind (another vehicle)


- a door at the back of a truck or car, that is hinged at the bottom so that it opens downwards

- tailgating is when a broker, financial advisor or another sort of investing agent buys or sells a security for a client, and then proceeds to make the same transaction for themselves. While tailgating is not an illegal practice, it is frowned upon and considered unethical by professionals in the field.

- Oxford Languages / Merriam-Webster / Collins Dictionary / Investopedia


In American English, the noun “tailgate”, meaning the back panel on a horse-drawn wagon (hinged to swing down and open) is from 1868. By 1950 this was augmented to refer to the hatchback door on an automobile.

As an adjective, as in “tailgate party“, in reference to the open tailgate of a parked car as a setting for a party or picnic, is evidenced by 1958.

The verb “to tailgate", meaning "to drive too close behind another vehicle", is from 1951.


- The modern concept of picnics can be traced back to 18th century France, after the French Revolution opened up the royal gardens to the public.

- The word "picnic" first appeared in English in 1748, but the French had been enjoying "pique-niques" (meaning "pick nothing") since at least 1694.

- Though the humble cheese sandwich was once the most popular picnic snack in the UK, it’s been dethroned in recent years by crisps (potato chips).

- Fortnum & Mason, a London department store, claims to have invented the Scotch egg in 1738 - a perfect portable picnic food.

- The phrase “It’s no picnic" to describe a difficult situation originated in the 1880s, possibly referencing the hardships faced during military campaigns.


alfresco dining (fare, feeding, noshing, repast, reveling, snacking), barbecuing, basket grazing, blanket banqueting, break bread outdoors, bush tucker, chequered cloth snacking, tablecloth eating, chowing in nature, dining elysian, feast in the field, feasting outbound, field snacking, grazing outdoors, grubbing in nature, hamper dining, lawn lunching, luncheon outdoorsy, nature grazing, noshing outdoorsy, open air dining (feasting, lunching, snacking), outdoor banqueting (collating, consuming, dining, eating, feasting, feeding, grazing, noshing, snacking, park eating, picknicking), rug eating, spread a blanket, TAILGATING, tarpaulin dining, tuckering outbound, turfside noshing

SMUGGLE OWAD into an English conversation, say something like:

“It’s no picnic: click here to see what happens if you TAILGATE a rhinoceros in a safari park! Amazingly, no one was hurt."

THANKS to Hans-Joachim and Jacquie for suggesting today’s OWAD.

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