Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A gate used to control the flow of a body of water. Also called water gate.
  • n. Something that restrains a flood or outpouring: The ruling opened the floodgates to refugees seeking asylum.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An adjustable gate or valve used to control the flow of water through a sluice.
  • n. Anything that controls or limits an outpouring of people, emotion etc.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. regulator consisting of a valve or gate that controls the rate of water flow through a sluice
  • n. something that restrains a flood or outpouring

Etymologies

Sorry, no etymologies found.

Examples

  • Despite Senator Murkowski's claims of urgency to stop the "floodgate" of greenhouse gas pollution reductions EPA is poised to "unleash," she plans to bide her time for maximum political - and perhaps campaign - advantage.

    Climate Progress

  • His or her lawyer argued that forcing Google to give up the name would open a "floodgate" of litigation from everyone who ever felt they'd been insulted online.

    East Brunswick Sentinel

  • Venise's daughter said she prayed for me often and that knowledge certainly increased the "empathy" I was feeling, and opened the floodgate of tears for both of us.

    Georgianne Nienaber: Haiti: Is Empathy the Road to Truth and Understanding?

  • You've got to remember that Tunis started not because of politics but because of unemployment and that just opened a floodgate.

    Interview With Jordan's King Abdullah II

  • And if it’s directed along a constructive path, it can/could open a floodgate of votes for the fledgling pirate party who have their sights set on the European parliament this year.

    The Pirate Bay decision means … nothing

  • And if it’s directed along a constructive path, it can/could open a floodgate of votes for the fledgling pirate party who have their sights set on the European parliament this year. ”

    The Pirate Bay decision means … nothing

  • Such coastal backwaters, already higher than usual from heavy spring runoff, are expected to rise for days—and perhaps weeks—as water from the Morganza floodgate keeps winding south for 100 miles to the Gulf.

    Oystermen Scrape Bottom

  • As this pressure eventually opened a floodgate of dissent, it became obvious that Murdoch's empire could never have been built without the participation and consent of the British state, especially the government and police.

    Mahmood Delkhasteh: Murdoch's Empire Is Collapsing: What Is Next?

  • "The conditions here are terrible," said Narongsak Srisawas, 45 years old, as he squatted on a rickety wooden raft outside his submerged home while soldiers helped rebuild a damaged floodgate and later stood guard over the structure.

    Firms Draw Scrutiny Over Thai Flood's Impact

  • It becomes a non-issue once you open the floodgate.

    Freaky Eaters' Dr. Mike Dow and JJ Virgin: People Tune In for the Freak Factor

Comments

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  • During the last fundraising drive, my local NPR station kept telling listeners to "call or web in |their| support." I kept thinking of Spiderman.

    November 7, 2012

  • 6:30 a.m.: Polls open in Ohio. Expect a floodgate of attention to surround this battleground state where the presidential candidates have invested enormous resources into winning its 18 electoral votes. --NPR

    A "floodgate of attention"? I don't think that metaphor works.

    November 7, 2012