Also found in: Thesaurus, Legal, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
A series of scandals occurring during the Nixon administration in which members of the executive branch organized illegal political espionage against their perceived opponents and were charged with violation of the public trust, bribery, contempt of Congress, and attempted obstruction of justice.
[After Watergate, a building complex in Washington, DC, the site of a burglary (1972) that gave rise to the scandals.]
1. (Historical Terms) an incident during the 1972 US presidential campaign, when a group of agents employed by the re-election organization of President Richard Nixon were caught breaking into the Democratic Party headquarters in the Watergate building, Washington, DC. The consequent political scandal was exacerbated by attempts to conceal the fact that senior White House officials had approved the burglary, and eventually forced the resignation of President Nixon
2. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) any similar public scandal, esp involving politicians or a possible cover-up. See also -gate
2. a gateway leading to the edge of a body of water, as at a landing.
Wa•ter•gate(ˈwɔ tərˌgeɪt, ˈwɒt ər-)
1. a political scandal during the 1972 presidential campaign, arising from a break-in at Democratic Party headquarters at the Watergate building complex in Washington, D.C., and culminating in the resignation of President Nixon.
2. any scandal involving corruption and other abuses of power, and an attempt to conceal these activities from the public.
The scandal over the bugging of Democratic headquarters during the 1972 election campaign, exposed by campaigning journalists. President Nixon was forced to resign in 1974 after admitting false denial of knowledge (1974).