floodgate early 13c. in the figurative sense (especially with reference to tears or rain); literal sense is mid-15c.; from FLOOD (Cf. flood) + GATE (Cf. gate).

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

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  • floodgate — flood·gate n: something serving to restrain an outburst (as of litigation) usu. used in pl. a decision that will open the floodgates for other claims Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster. 1996 …   Law dictionary

  • floodgate — ► NOUN 1) a gate that can be opened or closed to admit or exclude water, especially the lower gate of a lock. 2) (the floodgates) last restraints holding back a powerful outpouring …   English terms dictionary

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  • floodgate — noun Etymology: Middle English flodgate Date: 13th century 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 > …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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