The Meaning of Tandem: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know what the word tandem means? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word tandem, including its meaning, usage, etymology, synonyms, origin, and more!

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What does the word tandem mean?

According to Collins English Dictionary and the American Heritage Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, the word tandem is an adjective or adverb that means lined up in a single file or single line. Tandem is two syllables – tan-dem, and the pronunciation of tandem is ˈtændəm.

Many things can be tandem, like tandem bicycles with two sets of pedals and two pairs of axles, a tandem carriage, tandem riders on a tandem bike, a tandem tractor trailer, a team of horses with tandem saddles, tandem harness, tandem seating on a whitewater raft or larger boat, the efficiency of solar panels when used in tandem, a team of draft horses or additional animals, a group of identical components used together, a group of persons, a tandem gene, tandem axle, draft animals, or another team of machines or team of several pairs used in cooperative action or for mutual dependence.

Many different languages also contain words that mean tandem. You may notice that some of these words look and sound similar to each other. These are called cognates, which are often formed when two words have the same root or language of origin like Latin or Greek. This list of translations of tandem is provided by Word Sense.

  • Hungarian: tandem‎
  • Finnish: tandem‎, tandempyörä‎
  • Russian: танде́м‎
  • Mandarin: 雙人自行車‎, 双人自行车‎ (shuāngrén zìxíngchē)
  • Portuguese: tandem‎ (masc.)
  • Norman: bike à deux‎ (fem.)
  • Dutch: tandem‎ (masc.)
  • Czech: tandem‎ (masc.)
  • Japanese: タンデム自転車‎ (tandemu jitensha)
  • Greek: τάντεμ‎ (neut.)
  • Vietnamese: xe đạp đôi‎
  • Spanish: tándem‎ (masc.)
  • Faroese: tvísúkkla‎ (fem.)
  • German: Tandem‎ (neut.)
  • Danish: tandem‎ (common), tandemcykel‎ (common)
  • French: tandem‎ (masc.)
  • Ido: tandemo‎
  • Italian: tandem‎ (masc.)

What are synonyms and antonyms of tandem?

There are many different words that one can use in place of the word tandem. These words are called synonyms. Synonyms are words that mean the same thing as a given word or phrase, and that can be used interchangeably. One might choose to use a synonym to expand their own vocabulary, to avoid repeating themselves, or to choose a word that makes the most sense for the context. The below list of synonyms for the word tandem is provided by Power Thesaurus.

  •  jointly
  •  racing bike
  •  endlong
  •  following
  •  synergy
  •  together
  •  behind
  •  double-trailer truck
  •  two-wheeler
  •  partners
  •  spike
  •  in the background
  •  lockstep
  •  lineup
  •  span
  •  conjunctively
  •  trike
  •  rig
  •  random
  •  in the rear
  •  tricar
  •  two-seater bicycle
  •  set
  •  synchronism
  •  buggy
  •  side
  •  velocipede
  •  b-double
  •  continuously
  •  exercycle
  •  bicycle-built-for-two
  •  series
  •  doublet
  •  mountain bike
  •  cycle
  •  four-in-hand
  •  serial
  •  company
  •  lengthwise
  •  semi-trailers with two units
  •  semi-trailers with two trailer units
  •  in single file
  •  string
  •  conjunction
  •  in a line
  •  spike team
  •  tandem with
  •  semi truck
  •  bike
  •  collectively
  •  consequent
  •  crew
  •  cooperation
  •  club
  •  in tandem
  •  three-up
  •  team
  •  co-hosted
  •  randem
  •  cascaded
  •  double-bottom
  •  single
  •  tandem tractor trailer
  •  unicycle
  •  tricycle
  •  tractor-trailer
  •  duo
  •  joint
  •  successive
  •  semi-trailer
  •  dogcart
  •  conjointly
  •  dyad
  •  semitrailer
  •  double
  •  set of two
  •  tandem rig
  •  longitudinally
  •  long rig consisting of a tractor
  •  tandem bicycle
  •  along
  •  in back of
  •  alongside
  •  yoke
  •  trap
  •  b-train
  •  partnership
  •  combination
  •  chain
  •  bicycle
  •  concurrence
  •  seriatim
  •  outfit
  •  turnout
  •  pair
  •  sequential
  •  tag team
  •  tandem trailer
  •  semi-trailer truck
  •  converter dolly

But what if someone wanted to use a word that meant the opposite of tandem? In this case, they would use an antonym, or opposite word. An antonym is a word or phrase that means the opposite of a given word or phrase. The below list of antonyms for tandem is also provided by Power Thesaurus

  •  apart
  •  scattered to the wind
  •  separate
  •  on one’s jack
  •  individually
  •  contrastingly
  •  singly
  •  division
  •  on one’s tod
  •  separation
  •  on one’s jack jones
  •  widely scattered
  •  scattered to the winds
  •  on one’s own
  •  unaided
  •  scattered to the four winds
  •  scattered all over
  •  individual
  •  by oneself
  •  separately
  •  all alone
  •  independently
  •  alone
  •  single

What is the origin of the word tandem?

According to Etymonline, the word tandem has been used since c18 and comes from the whimsical use of Latin tandem. The Latin adverb tandem comes from the Latin tam and demonstrative suffix dem or dəm.

How can the word tandem be used in a sentence?

The word tandem can be used in many different words in the English language. Using words in a sentence is a great way to learn new words and add them to your vocabulary. You can also make flashcards or quizzes to test your knowledge of the definitions of different English language words. Below are a few different examples of the word tandem being used in different sentences. Try using this word of the day in a sentence today! It may become one of your new favorite words.

We rode on the Vespa in tandem through the streets of Italy. It felt like we were in a movie.

The different mechanical components of the large machine worked in tandem to do something very simple over and over again. The assembly line had many different machines that worked in tandem to create the devices.

The horses on the carriage worked in tandem to pull the load down the cobblestone streets. With only one of them, it would have been too difficult.  

Overall, the word tandem means lined up single file for use together, like tandem bikes arranged tandem or a team of carriage horses. Try using this word of the day in a sentence today to add it to your vocabulary. This word is very useful to know.


  1. Tandem definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary 
  2. tandem: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  3. tandem | Origin and meaning of tandem | Online Etymology Dictionary 
  4. Tandem synonyms – 164 Words and Phrases for Tandem | Power Thesaurus 
  5. Tandem antonyms – 24 Opposites of Tandem | Power Thesaurus