flood·​gate | \ ˈfləd-ˌgāt How to pronounce floodgate (audio) \

Definition of floodgate

1 : a gate for shutting out, admitting, or releasing a body of water : sluice
2 : something serving to restrain an outburst opened the floodgates of criticism

Examples of floodgate in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Scientists now have a whole floodgate of new genetics to open up. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "In ‘Moon Landing of Genomics,’ Scientists Sequence Ancient DNA From Dirt," 20 Apr. 2021 In early February, the river flowed through a 15-by-20 foot floodgate, its steel bars reflected in the calm, ankle-deep water. azcentral, "Trump's border wall scarred sacred lands, displaced wildlife and drained water. Can it be taken down?," 15 Apr. 2021 The success of Jason Sudeikis’s Ted Lasso does appear to have opened a floodgate of SNL vets coming to Apple TV+. Anne Victoria Clark, Vulture, "Maya Rudolph Is a Billionaire in New Apple TV+ Show," 18 Mar. 2021 In fact, few may recall that the Supreme Court case that struck down PASPA and opened the floodgate for legalized sports betting was titled Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association. Andrew J. Silver, Forbes, "It’s March, But NCAA, Unlike Professional Leagues, Is Yet To Budge On Legal Sports Betting," 12 Mar. 2021 But Kim’s experience seemed to open up a floodgate. Eric Lach, The New Yorker, "Who Ordered a Smear Campaign Against Andrew Cuomo’s First Accuser?," 9 Mar. 2021 The project also includes a floodgate on Bayou Des Allemands that would be closed for hurricanes. Mark Schleifstein, NOLA.com, "Corps proposes $2 billion, 30.6-mile Upper Barataria levee to protect from 100-year hurricane storm surges," 10 Jan. 2021 When businesses were allowed to reopen in May, a floodgate of waiting women and dresses came through and the whirr of sewing machines started up again. jsonline.com, "'Shecession': COVID-19 pandemic presses down on Wisconsin women," 5 Nov. 2020 On Monday evening, a floodgate opened about Microsoft's next-gen console launch plans. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Xbox Series S confirmed by Microsoft after next-gen Xbox price leak [Updated]," 7 Sep. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'floodgate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of floodgate

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for floodgate

Middle English flodgate

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Time Traveler for floodgate

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for floodgate

Last Updated

4 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Floodgate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/floodgate. Accessed 17 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for floodgate



English Language Learners Definition of floodgate

: a gate for controlling the flow of water from a lake, river, reservoir, etc.



Legal Definition of floodgate

: 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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for floodgate

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about floodgate

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