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
Origin and Etymology of floodgate
Middle English flodgate
First Known Use: 13th century
FLOODGATE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of floodgate for English Language Learners
: 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 plural a decision that will open the floodgates for other claims
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