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 The government then opened the budgetary floodgates to support suffering workers and add health care capacity. Damien Cave, BostonGlobe.com, "Vanquish the virus? Australia and New Zealand aim to show the way," 25 Apr. 2020 Senior DeAnte Gray only scored three points, but the forward's hustle early in the opening frame spawned the collapse of the floodgates as Wyoming cruised wire-to-wire. Shelby Dermer, Cincinnati.com, "After 21-0 regular season, can Wyoming boys basketball win a DII state championship?," 15 Feb. 2020 These bills will only further open the floodgates to bad actors who are illegally shipping alcohol into the state with little regard for consumer safety, while avoiding paying state taxes in the process. Scott Mcclallen, Washington Examiner, "Bill seeks to allow direct-consumer shipping from out-of-state wine retailers," 10 Mar. 2020 Its construction time frame is also of biblical proportion: The floodgate system has been under construction for the past 17 years and was initially meant to be completed by 2012. NBC News, "As sea levels rise, Venice fights to stay above the waterline," 14 Feb. 2020 One approach would aim to keep the structure watertight for 24 hours by coating the lower elevations in waterproof sealants, accompanied by floodgates that could snap into place across doors and low windows. John King, SFChronicle.com, "Buffing up San Francisco’s historic piers to survive sea level rise," 6 Feb. 2020 Within a few years, most new vehicles will likely be hybrids as the floodgates swing open for pure EVs. Andrew Moseman, Fortune, "The next frontier of road rage is the parking garage," 31 Jan. 2020 The Italian government has been developing barriers and floodgates to mitigate the damage since the 1980s. Fox News, "Venice canals nearly dry, months after historic floods," 14 Jan. 2020 In a speech delivered from a golden throne in Parliament by Queen Elizabeth II, Johnson opened the legislative floodgates after three years in which minority Conservative governments tried in vain to win legilslators' backing for their Brexit plans. Arkansas Online, "U.K.'s Johnson unveils legislative plan to end Brexit deadlock," 19 Dec. 2019

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

5 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Floodgate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/floodgate. Accessed 29 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for floodgate


How to pronounce floodgate (audio)

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on floodgate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for floodgate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with floodgate

Spanish Central: Translation of floodgate

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about floodgate

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