The addition of -gate to a word is a reference to the Watergate scandal which led to the resignation of President Nixon. Watergate is the name of the hotel complex where 5 men tried to break into the Democratic National Committee headquarters. Ever since this scandal, the suffix -gate has been added by the media to a keyword or topic to refer to a related scandal or controversy.

The most recent “-gate” controversy is Spygate in which the New England Patriots football team was caught videotaping the defensive signals of the New York Jets during their game on Sept. 9, 2007.