spill·​way | \ ˈspil-ˌwā How to pronounce spillway (audio) \

Definition of spillway

: a passage for surplus water to run over or around an obstruction (such as a dam)

Examples of spillway in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In 2019, the spillway was opened for an unprecedented 123 days. Cameron Mcwhirter, WSJ, "Mississippi Fights With Army Corps Over Flood Control," 24 Jan. 2020 Aspiring photographers will meet at 9 a.m. on the western end of Lower Shaker Lake , on the bridge over the Lower Lake dam spillway. cleveland, "Mandel Jewish Day School postpones building dedication after death of Morton Mandel, 98; University Hts. man named top adjunct teacher; more: Press Run," 18 Oct. 2019 The lake has risen to only 3 feet from spilling, and it is anticipated to start going over the spillway with this next storm. sacbee, "Fishing Line: Week of March 19 | The Sacramento Bee," 20 Mar. 2018 Officials then turned to the dam’s emergency spillway for the first time ever, and the hillside began to erode, forcing 188,000 people in downstream communities to evacuate. Peter Fimrite, SFChronicle.com, "Up in the Sierra, nearly normal snowpack shows drought predictions wrong," 2 Jan. 2020 Five days later, with the reservoir brimming, water poured over the emergency spillway for the first time ever. Dale Kasler And Ryan Sabalow, sacbee, "Oroville Dam spillway built on crumbling rock, warned contractor that built it," 22 Jan. 2018 In addition, unusually heavy rains could trigger a premature opening of the dam’s massive spillway, releasing more than 20 times what the downstream channel could safely contain within its channels. Los Angeles Times, "At ‘diamond in the rough’ at Whittier Narrows, army of volunteers cleans up nature sanctuary," 29 Sep. 2019 The likelihood that heavier rain may saturate dams and rupture spillways ranks among the multiplying impacts of climate change that are forcing costly responses. Bruce Finley, The Denver Post, "Colorado rethinks dam safety as climate change heightens risk for state’s 27 “unsatisfactory” structures," 1 Dec. 2019 The spillway protects communities near the Mississippi’s mouth from flooding by releasing water from the river and reducing pressure on the flood-control system. Brett Anderson, New York Times, "Gulf Oysters Are Dying, Putting a Southern Tradition at Risk," 12 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'spillway.' 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 spillway

1889, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for spillway

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The first known use of spillway was in 1889

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Last Updated

28 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Spillway.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spillway. Accessed 29 January 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on spillway

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with spillway

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about spillway

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to assert without proof or before proving

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