1. Civil Engineering. a gate designed to regulate the flow of water.
  2. anything serving to control the indiscriminate flow or passage of something.


  1. Also called: head gate, water gate a gate in a sluice that is used to control the flow of waterSee also sluicegate
  2. (often plural) a control or barrier against an outpouring or flowto open the floodgates to immigration

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

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