[ 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

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

How to use spillway in a sentence

  • The water went in spillways through the dam, forming again into the old natural river below it and flowing with it to the south.

  • The murmur of the dam's spillways had been faintly audible, but now it was louder, presently it became a roar.

  • But so heavily does it rain at times that countless spillways let the surplus escape to the sea.

  • Its gates, its cuts, its spillways, its tractions—all of these had grown familiar by actual inspection.

  • Possess—possession is nine points of the law—that's what Judge Warner said: the spillways, Bartley—shut 'em quick!

    The Real Man | Francis Lynde

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