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

For the past 25 years, the judiciary has moved increasingly further right and the Supreme Court has tossed out duly enacted legislation, opened the floodgates to public corruption, and undermined substantive democracy. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation will delegitimize the Supreme Court — and that’s good," 5 Oct. 2018 Which opens the floodgates to installing more power and RAM-hungry apps, which means that 4GB isn’t going to be enough. Dieter Bohn, The Verge, "Microsoft Surface Go review: a little goes a long way," 7 Aug. 2018 Thanks to our porous campaign finance laws, and especially after the Supreme Court’s decision in the 2010 Citizens United case, the floodgates are open for corporate campaign contributions. Michael Hiltzik, latimes.com, "Dealt a body blow by the Supreme Court, unions ponder: Where do we go from here?," 28 June 2018 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

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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Statistics for floodgate

Last Updated

18 Nov 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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More from Merriam-Webster on floodgate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with floodgate

Spanish Central: Translation of floodgate

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about floodgate

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