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The word gatecrasher is an American idiom, first used as a slang term. Gatecrasher is also a closed compound word, which is a word that is made up of two words joined together without hyphens or spaces. This type of compound is also called a solid compound word. We will examine the meaning of the word gatecrasher, some related words, when this term first appeared and some examples of its use in sentences.

A gatecrasher is someone who attends a gathering without having been invited or having purchased an event ticket to the event. A gatecrasher may be someone who has decided to attend a private party without an invitation, or it may be someone attending a public event without feeling the need to buy tickets. A gatecrasher may attend a Broadway show without purchasing theater tickets, he may attend concerts without going to the box office in order to purchase seating, or he may attend a sporting event at an arena without purchasing sports tickets. Clubs are another place where gatecrashers may strike, finding a way to get into a venue that is reserved for a more elite clientele. A certain subculture of people who engage in clubbing go from nightclub to disco dance floor, sneaking or charming their way into the venue. If someone is caught gatecrashing, sometimes shortened to the word crashing, the authorities are generally called. The word gatecrasher is a noun, the verb gatecrash or crash is also used to mean the act of attending a gathering without having been invited or having purchased tickets. Related words are gatecrashes, gatecrashed, gatecrashing. The spelling of gatecrasher and related words is in flux, as compound words often go through an evolution from two separate words, to hyphenated words, to one word without any hyphen or spaces. The Oxford English Dictionary lists gatecrasher and related words as closed compound words without hyphens or spaces. However, other dictionaries such as the Merriam-Webster Dictionary list gatecrasher and related words as hyphenated compound words.

Gatecrashing may become serious when large crowds gather at the gates of venues without holding event tickets. Such a crowd may clash with security and end up literally crashing through gates meant to hold them back. Another problem with gatecrashers is that they have entered the event or party through stealth or trickery, and may be dangerous. The promoter of an event must be vigilant in planning to stop gatecrashers, as one knows if a gatecrasher who has avoided a security check is a bomber or has other weapons, and their entrance may result in a stabbing or other act of violence. Gatecrasher is a word that does not have many exact synonyms listed in the thesaurus. Some possible synonyms are interloper, intruder, trespasser or infiltrator, but none of these expressions carry the same nuanced meaning as gatecrasher. The term party-crasher is a good synonym, when discussing entering a private party without an invitation. The etymology of gatecrasher is fairly simple, being a combination of the word gate meaning a door or barrier and crasher, meaning one who forces his way inside. The term gatecrasher first came into use in the United States during the 1920s, almost exclusively referring to people attending parties to which they had not been invited.


It was revealed by friends that Ms Chol was protecting the birthday girl from gatecrashers when she was stabbed in the stomach. (The Daily Mail)

A huge brawl broke out at a house party in a leafy suburb after the event was advertised on Facebook and gatecrashers turned up. (The Manchester Evening News)

Extraordinary footage has captured the moment two reported gatecrashers started a “drunken brawl” during a university lecture. (The Mirror)