floodgate

noun flood·gate \ ˈfləd-ˌgāt \
Updated on: 13 Dec 2017

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

Recent Examples of floodgate from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of floodgate

Middle English flodgate



FLOODGATE Defined for English Language Learners

floodgate

noun

Definition of floodgate for English Language Learners

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


Law Dictionary

floodgate

noun flood·gate

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

Learn More about floodgate


Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

the significant part of a grievance

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Star Wars Words Quiz

  • cu-jedi-training
  • The bounty portion of bounty hunters (such as Boba Fett) comes from a Latin word meaning
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!