[ spil-wey ]
See synonyms for spillway on Thesaurus.com
  1. a passageway through which surplus water escapes from a reservoir, lake, or the like.

Origin of spillway

First recorded in 1885–90; spill1 + way1

Words Nearby spillway

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use spillway in a sentence

  • Fluctuations in the lake due to floods are controlled by an immense spillway dam built of concrete.

  • The spillway is so arranged that as the level of the water in the lake rises the discharging capacity increases.

    The Panama Canal | Frederic Jennings Haskin
  • The spillway, too, if enlarged by explosives, would make a nasty hole to build up.

    Boy Scouts in the Canal Zone | G. Harvey Ralphson
  • The spillway is a concrete-lined opening cut through a hill of rock near the center of the dam.

    Boy Scouts in the Canal Zone | G. Harvey Ralphson
  • Behind was the bubbling, leaping flow of the spillway itself, and Gatun Dam.

    Raiders Invisible | Desmond Winter Hall

British Dictionary definitions for spillway


/ (ˈspɪlˌweɪ) /

  1. a channel that carries away surplus water, as from a dam: Also called: wasteweir, spill

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012