open the floodgates

open the floodgates

to make it possible for something to happen The court's decision could open the floodgates for large numbers of other cases involving war crimes.
Usage notes: usually used to describe activities that had been difficult or illegal but which are now easier or allowed and expected to be done by many
Etymology: based on the literal meaning of open the floodgates (to allow water that had been held back to flow freely)
See also: open

open the floodgates

if an action or a decision opens the floodgates, it allows something to happen a lot or allows many people to do something that was not previously allowed (often + to ) If they win their case it could open the floodgates to others with similar compensation claims.
See also: open
References in periodicals archive ?
A COUNCILLOR has raised fears that the approval of a 22-metre high wind turbine could open the floodgates for many more in Birmingham.
The "sunset clause" provision would allow changes if they open the floodgates to women wanting to end their pregnancies.
GOLF: Sir Nick Faldo believes Graeme McDowell's US Open triumph can open the floodgates for more Europeans - as happened 30 years ago when Seve Ballesteros broke through in America.
If we lose it will open the floodgates to developers poaching the large back gardens of homes in Guisborough Road.
Padraig Harrington's victory at The Open was great for European golf and could open the floodgates.
Many coach and limo drivers seem to have no qualms whatsoever in pulling over and opening the doors, or more to open the floodgates, regardless of whether any women or children are passing by.
President Jagdeo said that the passing of the proposed legislation will in no way open the floodgates for widespread gambling, since only visitors to Guyana will be allowed to use the casinos.
Many of us view this as the event that will open the floodgates to the development of many privately owned parcels in the area,'' Drayman said.
This program--which would provide legal status to millions of illegal immigrants already here and open the floodgates for many millions more to come--does not make sense if the purpose is to secure our borders.
The move could open the floodgates to similar claims for refunds.
The eyebrow-raising ad, geared to allay French fears that the European Union will open the floodgates for Polish workers to steal French jobs, may inadvertently attract an influx of gay tourists to Poland.
Bishop Ingham, however, warned that acceding to the primates' request could open the floodgates to future demands.
The massive inundation, rather than resulting from the series of storms that had soaked the region for months, occurred when engineers at Arizona's Glen Canyon Dam cranked open the floodgates to send extra water downstream.
A brazen $600 million bid from Madison Square Garden to develop the Hudson Yards could open the floodgates to other developers with ambitions for better utilizing the site for mixed-use.
Make no mistake,if this goes through it will open the floodgates.