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-gate, comb. form

Pronunciation: Primary stress is retained by the usual stressed syllable of the preceding element and vowels may be reduced accordingly, e.g. Dallasgate
Brit. Hear pronunciation/ˈdaləsɡeɪt/
U.S. Hear pronunciation/ˈdæləsˌɡeɪt/
Etymology: Part of the name Watergate: see note s.v. Watergate n.3 2.
Originally and chiefly U.S.
A terminal element denoting an actual or alleged scandal (and usually an attempted cover-up), in some way comparable with the Watergate scandal of 1972. Appended to:

 1. The name of the place where such a scandal (allegedly) occurred, or that of a place in some way associated with the scandal, as Dallasgate, Hollywoodgate, Irangate, Koreagate, etc.

1973   National Lampoon Aug. 27/2   There have been persistent rumors in Russia of a vast scandal... Implicated in ‘the Volgagate’ are a group of liberal officials.
1975   Mod. People 1 Oct. 1 (heading)    Shocking Dallasgate revealed.
1976   Guardian Weekly 5 Dec. 6/2   The continually expanding scandal over the Park regime's influence peddling on Capitol Hill has already been called a ‘Koreagate’.
1978   Newsweek 23 Jan. 55/3   Rumors of a coverup spread, and journalists scurried to investigate what some were already calling Hollywoodgate.
1978   Maclean's 9 Oct. 66 (caption)    Thorpe and Whitehall-gate: how the Establishment works.
1986   Independent 10 Dec. 12/3   It is all too easy for Mr Reagan..to see ‘Irangate’ purely in domestic American terms.

1973—1986(Hide quotations)


 2. The proper name, nickname, etc., of a person or organization implicated in the scandal, as Billygate, Floodgate, Totegate, etc.

1975   Wall St. Jrnl. 24 Apr. 1/6 (heading)    Motorgate: how a floating corpse led to a fraud inquiry and ousters by GM.
1977   N.Y. Times Mag. 16 Oct. 38/1   Lancegate is no Watergate... The Carter men had hardly a month to plan..a downplaying of Bert Lance's problems.
1978   Time 6 Mar. 21/2   Many friends of Flood's will probably be touched by the investigation, which is already becoming known as ‘Floodgate’.
1978   Observer 10 Dec. 5/1   The South African Government easily defeated..an attempt..to force its resignation over ‘Muldergate’—the Information Department scandal.
1979   Observer 29 July 4/1   ‘Totegate’..centres on the Tote's practice of collecting off-course bets and sending them for inclusion..at the racecourse up to five minutes after the result of the race is known.
1980   Newsweek 18 Aug. 81/1   The unfolding tale of Billy Carter and his Libyan connection—an affair that many big-city dailies still call ‘Billygate’.
1983   Tuscaloosa (Alabama) News 11 July 4/2   It seems to me absurd—on the basis of what we know now—to equate ‘Cartergate’ with ‘Watergate’.
1986   Marxism Today Sept. 41/3   The current deterioration of the Ulster environment will continue unabated..if future developments significantly touch the RUC (‘Stalkergate’) or the judiciary.

1975—1986(Hide quotations)


 3. A common noun (or occasionally another part of speech) that specifies the commodity, activity, etc., at the centre of the scandal.

1973   Sat. Rev. World (U.S.) 20 Nov. 45/1   Inevitably, the brouhaha of Bordeaux became known as Wine-gate.
1975   Time 18 Aug. 67/2   The suspects allegedly falsified records, fed incriminating evidence through a paper shredder and conducted a cover-up so pervasive that one investigator calls it ‘Ice Cream Gate’.
1976   Tuscaloosa (Alabama) News 11 Apr. d14/7   Farmers in Zuiderveen's Missaukee County have distributed bumper stickers that say ‘PBB: Cattlegate bigger than Watergate.’
1978   Time 2 Oct. 43/1   The affair that Britons were dubbing ‘Oilgate’ threatened to reach into the highest places.
1983   Wall St. Jrnl. 8 July 20/2   ‘Hearingsgate’ is now before the House ethics committee.
1983   Tuscaloosa (Alabama) News 2 Aug. 4/5   In their zeal to pump ‘Altergate’ into a full-blown scandal..Gregg and Hiler charged that..alterations had been made in the transcripts of..other hearings.

1973—1983(Hide quotations)


This entry has not yet been fully updated (first published 1989; most recently modified version published online March 2022).

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