Definition of floodgate noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

 

floodgate

 noun
noun
BrE BrE//ˈflʌdɡeɪt//
 
; NAmE NAmE//ˈflʌdɡeɪt//
 
[usually plural] Rivers and lakes
 
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a gate that can be opened or closed to control the flow of water on a river (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 related entries: Rivers and lakes
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: floodgate