"Watergate" Comes Full Circle, from Nixon to Rubio

Watergate entered public lexicon in the United States as details emerged about a politically-motivated break-in at the Watergate Hotel in 1972. Since, then the suffix “-gate” has been added to various words to refer to scandals of varying importance.

Of course, this never quite made sense. The “-gate” suffix is used to mean, approximately, “scandal,” but in the original case, it was just part of the name of the focus point of the scandal. It has often been remarked that following the long-standing trend, Watergate should be known as Watergategate.

However, the term has come full circle. When, in an awkward moment during his response to President Obama’s State of the Union address, Senator Marco Rubio reached for a bottle of water (that was, for some reason, way off to the side instead of readily available), the internet and the media christened the moment “Watergate.”

It goes without saying that the offense was far less serious in this case. However, it is this Watergate, and not the original, that actually uses the “-gate” suffix “correctly,” as it were.