sluice gate

See also: sluicegate and sluice-gate


A small sluice gate

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sluice gate (plural sluice gates)

  1. A portal which may be opened or closed to allow or prevent the passage of water through a man-made channel.
  2. (figuratively) Something which restrains or releases a substantial volume—a flood—of activity, emotion, etc.
    • 1850, Anthony Trollope, La Vendée, ch. 7:
      [A]nd then when the fountain of her love was opened, and the sluice gate of her displeasure removed, she told him how she would pray for him till he came back safe from the wars.
    • 1896, Gilbert Parker, Seats Of The Mighty, ch. 10:
      I could see her brave spirit quelling the riot of her emotions, shutting down the sluice-gate of tears.
    • 1963 Feb. 19, Bertram B. Johansson, "Focus on Betancourt," Christian Science Monitor, p. 1:
      Mr. Betancourt is the sluice gate for communism in Venezuela.
    • 1995, Gary Eberle, Angel Strings: A Novel, →ISBN, p. 22 (Google preview):
      I must have opened up some sluice gate inside her and everything that had been dammed up came spilling out.
    • 2002 Aug. 2, "Thanks for the Mammaries," Time:
      The Village Voice put its sassiest junior movie critic (me) on the Meyer beat, opening the sluice gate to torrents of mannered enthusiasm.

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