spill·​way ˈspil-ˌwā How to pronounce spillway (audio)
: 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 The Santa Fe Trail is also located nearby, providing a link from the White Rock Lake spillway to Deep Ellum and Fair Park. Ryan Conner, Dallas News, 31 Aug. 2023 Officials in Hebei Province, which borders Beijing, had opened flood gates and spillways in seven low-lying flood control zones to prevent rivers and reservoirs from overflowing in Beijing and the region’s other metropolis, Tianjin, state media said. Keith Bradsher, New York Times, 4 Aug. 2023 At Pleasant Valley Dam, about 8 miles north of the city of Bishop, stormwater laden with sediment was surging over its spillway and into the Owens River at a rate of 1,000 cubic feet per second. Louis Sahagún, Los Angeles Times, 25 Mar. 2023 Shane Johnson, of Minot, hooked the 19-pounder on a quarter-ounce jig rigged with a 3-inch plastic lure while fishing off a wing wall that juts into the spillway below the 2-mile-long Garrison Dam. Steven Hill, Field & Stream, 23 Jan. 2023 Water levels at the Wrightsville Dam were reported at 2.2 feet from the spillway early Tuesday and were rising. George Petras, USA TODAY, 11 July 2023 On Tuesday morning, Fraser cautioned residents that the dam had only six feet of storage capacity remaining, and by 11:30 a.m. waters were only about 1 foot from the spillway, police said. Jeremy C. Fox, BostonGlobe.com, 11 July 2023 The Department of Water Resources has increased the outflow of water from the main spillway at Oroville Dam and an outlet farther south to ensure the full reservoir can hold snowmelt without overflowing. Nathan Solis, Los Angeles Times, 13 June 2023 How years of inaction caused a major catastrophe On Wednesday, the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office was issuing evacuation orders for areas along the Tule River, citing water overtopping a spillway at an upstream dam. Kurtis Alexander, San Francisco Chronicle, 15 Mar. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'spillway.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1889, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of spillway was in 1889

Dictionary Entries Near spillway

Cite this Entry

“Spillway.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spillway. Accessed 25 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


spill·​way ˈspil-ˌwā How to pronounce spillway (audio)
: a passage for extra water to run over or around a dam

More from Merriam-Webster on spillway

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