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Definition of floodgate noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary

     

    floodgate

     noun
    noun
    NAmE//ˈflʌdɡeɪt//
     
    [usually plural]
     
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  1. 1a gate that can be opened or closed to control the flow of water on a river
  2. 2(figurative) If the case is successful, it may open the floodgates to more damages claims against the industry (= start something that will be difficult to stop).
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: floodgate