From Watergate to Weinergate: 40 Years of Infamous 'Gates'

By Lauren Vicary and Kirsten Salyer - 2012-06-14T20:34:33Z

Photograph by Bill Pierce/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

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The Original '-Gate'

June 17, 2012, marks the 40th anniversary of the Watergate break-in, the first in a string of events that culminated in the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon. The term "Watergate" soon took on a life of its own. In four decades, the "-gate" suffix has been applied to dozens, even hundreds of other so-called scandals -- big and small, political or not. Its repeated use is credited to William Safire, Nixon's former speechwriter and New York Times columnist. Some believe Safire encouraged this rhetorical wordplay to diminish the historical significance of the original scandal while elevating others, all with the goal of rehabilitating Nixon and his legacy.

Over time, "-gate" emerged from the world of politics and wormed its way into sports, technology and onto the Super Bowl stage. Here are some of the most notable uses of the scandalous suffix from the past four decades.

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