flood·​gate ˈfləd-ˌgāt How to pronounce floodgate (audio)
: a gate for shutting out, admitting, or releasing a body of water : sluice
: something serving to restrain an outburst
opened the floodgates of criticism

Examples of floodgate in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The floodgates are now open in France, but also beyond. Roger Cohen, New York Times, 5 May 2024 Wildcards If the speakership were to be rendered vacant again, the floodgates could open again and other GOP lawmakers could throw their hat in the ring alongside the three major previous speaker candidates. Savannah Kuchar, USA TODAY, 5 May 2024 The venture capital floodgates are still wide open for AI and there doesn’t appear to be an imminent mass culling of AI startups. Verne Kopytoff, Fortune, 26 Mar. 2024 Brusdar Graterol held his emotions in check just long enough to throw a one-two-three eighth inning against the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday night, but as the Dodgers reliever walked off the mound, his face buried in his glove, the floodgates began to open. Mike Digiovanna, Los Angeles Times, 20 Sep. 2023 Then the floodgates opened as Peyton Stovall was hit by a pitch, McLaughlin and Aloy singled and Kendall Diggs drew a walk to set up Souza's grand slam. Tom Murphy, arkansasonline.com, 3 Apr. 2024 If the political rifts grow and Gantz quits the government, the floodgates will open to broader protests by a public that was already unhappy with the government when Hamas struck, said Reuven Hazan, a professor of political science at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Tia Goldenberg, arkansasonline.com, 4 Mar. 2024 The floodgates will open in November for nearly five million college applications. Dan Lichterman, Fortune, 24 Oct. 2023 There was a lot of speculation that after the strikes, the marketplace would open up again and the floodgates would open with dealmaking. Lesley Goldberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 16 Feb. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'floodgate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English flodgate

First Known Use

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of floodgate was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near floodgate

Cite this Entry

“Floodgate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/floodgate. Accessed 20 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


flood·​gate ˈfləd-ˌgāt How to pronounce floodgate (audio)
: a gate (as in a canal) for controlling a body of water : sluice

Legal Definition


: something serving to restrain an outburst (as of litigation)
usually used in pl.
a decision that will open the floodgates for other claims

More from Merriam-Webster on floodgate

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