flood·gate | \ˈfləd-ˌgāt \

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

When running starts to feel stale, a floodgate opens to a million other complaints. Alli Harvey, Anchorage Daily News, "When running gets monotonous, change the scenery or the soundtrack," 21 June 2018 The 1937-era main dam with floodgates was built north of an island in the river. Don Behm, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Estabrook Park dam floodgates fall to demolition crew," 18 Apr. 2018 Already the ruling has started opening the floodgates to deal making in the fast-changing worlds of entertainment production and distribution. Marcy Gordon, BostonGlobe.com, "Department of Justice appeals ruling that allowed AT&T-Time Warner merger," 12 July 2018 Already the ruling has started opening the floodgates to deal making in the fast-changing worlds of entertainment production and distribution. Marcy Gordon, chicagotribune.com, "Justice Department appealing judge's OK of AT&T-Time Warner merger," 12 July 2018 Tesla opened the floodgates last week, inviting all Model 3 reservation holders in the U.S. and Canada to configure their car and put in their order, a step that costs $2,500. Bloomberg, latimes.com, "Musk declares Tesla 'just became a real car company.' But can it keep building Model 3 vehicles at this pace?," 2 July 2018 The floodgates to greater inflows of institutional money are wide open. Polina Marinova, Fortune, "Why the Structure of Andreessen Horowitz’s New $300 Million Crypto Fund Matters," 26 June 2018 The new money would open the floodgates for television commercials and campaign mailers to homes leading up to the primary. Christopher Keating, courant.com, "Republican Gubernatorial Candidates' Public Financing Delayed," 6 June 2018 Following the show, the floodgates of La Pausa opened and the audience poured into a cruising disco. Derek Blasberg, Vanities, "Don’t Expect to See Margot Robbie on a Cruise Ship Anytime Soon," 4 May 2018

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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Phrases Related to floodgate

open the floodgates

Statistics for floodgate

Last Updated

7 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for floodgate

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

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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

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See words that rhyme with floodgate

Spanish Central: Translation of floodgate

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about floodgate

Comments on floodgate

What made you want to look up floodgate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


evasion of direct action or statement

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