floodgate

play
noun flood·gate \ˈfləd-ˌgāt\

Definition of floodgate

  1. 1 :  a gate for shutting out, admitting, or releasing a body of water :  sluice

  2. 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


First Known Use: 13th century


FLOODGATE Defined for English Language Learners

floodgate

play
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

  1. :  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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