Does the suffix -gate necessarily refer to a political scandal? Can it refer to a scandal involving large businesses but no government officials?

Could burgergate refer to a scandal in which a company passed horse meat off as beef for burgers?

I'd appreciate your help.


This started as a reference to the Watergate scandal, so named because it happened in the Watergate Hotel. And as with all references there are no real formal rules in place that tell you when it is aplicable and when it is not. So going by just the dictionary definition it is used reasonably often to describe any abuse of power.

But note that this is very informal and in my opinion these days overused for any scandal, down to the level of who-ate-the-cookiesgate.

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