Definition of flood in English:



  • 1An overflow of a large amount of water beyond its normal limits, especially over what is normally dry land.

    ‘the villagers had been cut off by floods and landslides’
    [as modifier] ‘a flood barrier’
    • ‘Firefighters, police, council workers and Thames Water joined forces to fight back the flood and limit the damage.’
    • ‘With flood irrigation, the water table near the creek is raised, that is, the amount of water in the soil is increased.’
    • ‘These initial releases were not successful, because all the plots were destroyed by herbicides, floods, or droughts.’
    • ‘‘We don't know whether the bridge can cope with that amount of water during a flood and it could eventually collapse,’ he said.’
    • ‘Dissatisfied with these giants, Virococha caused a great flood, whose waters still remain in Titicaca.’
    • ‘The main cause of flooding in the city centre is the use of flood barriers beyond the city centre.’
    • ‘When Cawood faced severe flooding in 2000, club members pumped away water seeping through the flood defences for three days.’
    • ‘Once you break the rim of the bowl and the water pours in, it's not like an ordinary flood, where the water comes and it goes.’
    • ‘Residents in Chapel Street and The Sands were evacuated to the town's Public Hall as the water level rose to just two inches below the flood protection barriers.’
    • ‘The bridge was destroyed by floods in 1723 and a new one built in 1775.’
    • ‘Here droughts, floods and locusts destroy crops and rinderpest kills cattle.’
    • ‘We just couldn't see a thing and all the time there was water coming like a flood behind us, and smoke and fires.’
    • ‘They bear the cost of droughts, floods, and trade barriers into Europe.’
    • ‘Water logging and floods are invariably the fallout during rains.’
    • ‘The agency has launched an online advice service for small to medium-sized businesses to limit the flood threat.’
    • ‘You need to know how to cut off your water supply in a flood.’
    • ‘Areas on the map are given low, moderate or significant risk ratings according to their location, the predicted water levels and the flood defences in place.’
    • ‘The receding of the water from the dry land after the flood sounds like the second and third days of Creation.’
    • ‘He said people in the area were very hard working but they were being frustrated by natural calamities such as drought and floods which were destroying the crops before they matured.’
    • ‘These include running off large volumes of silt-laden water during the flood season, from May to September.’
    inundation, swamping, deluge
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1The biblical flood brought by God upon the earth because of the wickedness of the human race (Gen. 6 ff.).
      • ‘In the Creation / Fall / Flood / Dispersion model of earth history, some very substantial changes have happened in what, to evolutionists, is an ultra-short time.’
      • ‘So what did Christ teach about Creation and Noah's Flood?’
      • ‘The Creation / Flood scenario for fossilization would allow many centuries for such permineralization to occur, even under less than ideal conditions.’
      • ‘However, a finite radiocarbon ‘age’ for this fossil wood is neither inconsistent nor unexpected within a Creation / Flood framework of Earth history.’
      • ‘While Star Trek's ‘Methuselah’ reforms, the Biblical Methuselah was done away with in the Flood.’
      • ‘In fact, we point out that it is an important part of the Biblical Creation / Flood model.’
      • ‘Dinosaurs were too big to go on the Ark, so they got buried in the mud of the Flood.’
      • ‘The Walk the Plank theatre company will be staging a family show based upon the Biblical tale and the great flood.’
      • ‘Conversely, the era of most distant Godliness was the epoch of Noah's Flood.’
      • ‘In fact, various Indian tribes around the world, the Australian aborigines, and other cultures have legends handed down from their ancestors that sound like the creation / Flood accounts in Genesis.’
      • ‘Mount Everest and the Himalayan mountain chain did not exist at the time of Noah's Flood.’
      • ‘When asked about the Flood and Noah's Ark, he said that that was a myth.’
      • ‘This changed only at the Flood, where God told Noah.’
      • ‘Many geological problems remain unsolved in the Creation / Flood model of earth history.’
      • ‘It may surprise uninformed evolutionists, but rapid diversification is an implicit prediction of the biblical Creation / Fall / Flood / Migration model.’
      • ‘The Flood may have stacked the rock like a giant layer cake, but what cut the cake?’
      • ‘There was the Flood, for example, in Noah's time.’
    2. 1.2The inflow of the tide.
      • ‘With little tide run after first flood, bites signal on the rod tip as several nods, often confusing you into thinking it might be a huss.’
      • ‘A lifelong fan - he queued in a sleeping bag to see Leeds in the 1965 Cup Final - Ridsdale could sense one of those tides which, taken at the flood, lead on to fortune.’
      • ‘Yarmouth North Beach is an ebb tide mark, Caister produces fish on both flood and ebb tides, but any beach will give cod in the right conditions.’
      • ‘Additional samples were collected near Nauset Inlet on flood and ebb tides and during the day and night at Nauset Harbor and Town Cove stations.’
      • ‘In a salt-wedge estuary, the river water, because of its lower density, rides over a wedge of salt water which moves short distances up and down the estuary in response to the weak flood and ebb of the tide.’
      • ‘Caused by a tall underwater pinnacle, the effect is most evident when a strong westerly wind catches a flood or ebb tide.’
      • ‘It had to be constantly compensated for, and dealt with, in the sense of gauging the force of Current and considering the ebb or flood of Tide.’
      inflow, inrush, inundation
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    3. 1.3literary A river, stream, or sea.
  • 2An outpouring of tears.

    ‘she burst into floods of tears’
    • ‘The teenager whose courageous three year battle against cancer has featured in the Evening Advertiser was distraught by the incident, and went home in floods of tears.’
    • ‘And when Percy came to the apartment at 10: 00 in the morning to work with me on his computer, I was in floods of tears.’
    • ‘Liam and I were in floods of tears because I just didn't know what to do.’
    • ‘When was the last time a book had you in floods of tears?’
    • ‘When I had finished talking, I realised I was in floods of tears.’
    • ‘My wife was in absolute floods of tears when she saw the plot.’
    • ‘She stood, in floods of tears, as her rivals swept past.’
    • ‘I remember watching ‘Born Free’ with my mum when I was a nipper and being in absolute floods of tears.’
    • ‘The other was a vision of a grown up man in floods of tears because, just having bought a brand new Pentax camera tax free, he had started to photograph one of the apes, which promptly grabbed the camera and tossed it down the cliff!’
    • ‘One day I found myself driving home in floods of tears.’
    • ‘The other great shadow over our lives was the threat of nuclear war, something that for me could easily produce floods of tears whenever a school play demanded weeping.’
    • ‘‘If he just started talking, I would be in floods of tears because it was so wonderful’, Mrs West said.’
    • ‘But outside, despite the floods of tears by both pupils and parents, they said they refused to give up the fight and that they would be looking at all the options available to them to save the school.’
    • ‘It is 9.30 am and the birthday girl is in floods of tears.’
    • ‘This was so poignant and moving, and superbly executed by Urmana and Furlanetto, plus Mr Pappano and his amazing band, that I was in floods of tears.’
    • ‘I was in floods of tears, screaming and smashing things up.’
    • ‘Members of the choir fled practice in floods of tears.’
    • ‘If they don't get their act together in the next couple of weeks it's going to end in floods of tears.’
    • ‘She had made the trip from Glasgow, where she lives, to her home town of Greenock countless times, but on this occasion the trip had her screaming with shock and bursting into floods of tears.’
    • ‘As he left the ground, McBride was in floods of tears.’
    outpouring, torrent, rush, stream, gush, surge, cascade, flow
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1An overwhelming quantity of things or people happening or appearing at the same time.
      ‘his column provoked a flood of complaints’
      ‘floods of tourists come each year to marvel at the sights’
      • ‘Accurate or not, the flood of bad news appears to be reaching some kind of crescendo.’
      • ‘He flushed with embarrassment at the flood of fragments of the memories of that time.’
      • ‘Soon, the flood of refuges overwhelms the establishment, and all of the foreigners flee the war-torn nation.’
      • ‘Jamie's concerned question caught her off-guard and unleashed a flood of emotions.’
      • ‘This stream became a flood in the mid 1800's when 17,000 people entered Canada through this port during a three year period.’
      • ‘This was a new and unfamiliar situation, leading me on to wonder whether I was entitled to a flood of credits from other artists for not appearing on their albums either.’
      • ‘In the village, as he meets his sisters and others among whom he grew up, a flood of memories overwhelms him, and he abruptly changes his mind about selling the property.’
      • ‘In fact the BBC main news said next to nothing about such casualties until a flood of complaints from our readers appeared to contribute to a short-lived change in reporting.’
      • ‘The first thing that needs to happen to create a flood of referrals into your personal training department is that you need to earn them.’
      • ‘There doesn't appear to be a major drop-off of talent despite the flood of newcomers.’
      • ‘Fox has now released a DVD version as part of the flood of war-related films that are appearing this May and June.’
      • ‘Particularly from the 1960s a flood of studies of all kinds appeared.’
      • ‘Another overlooked source of capital outflow comes from the flood of tourists visiting Hong Kong and other favourite destinations such as Bangkok and Singapore.’
      • ‘Pretty soon the outflow of dollars became a river, then a flood.’
      • ‘It's easy to get overwhelmed by the flood of problems you encounter when you first go into business.’
      • ‘A flood of sweetness overwhelmed her senses, making Shirley dizzy with pleasure.’
      • ‘She could see the majestic house appear over the horizon, and a flood of hope soaked her spirit.’
      • ‘They believe that this report will embarrass the powers-that-be into triggering a flood of funds to tackle the ravages of heroin.’
      • ‘Spectators may be overwhelmed by the flood of words as well as the clash of absurdity and reality without having a chance to give it a moment's thought.’
      • ‘A flood of books about the man and his battles has appeared and the nostalgia has even given rise to a range of jewellery inspired by the gifts that Hamilton and Nelson gave each other.’
      succession, series, string, chain
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  • 3

    short for floodlight
    • ‘The whitewashed walls glowed eerily in the light refracted from the flood lamps through the rain.’
    • ‘His eyes adjusted to the lack of light automatically, and he was able to see details as if they were under the light of a flood lamp.’


  • 1Cover or submerge (an area) with water in a flood.

    ‘the dam burst, flooding a small town’
    ‘a serious risk of flooding’
    • ‘The hurricane caused a surge of water that flooded large areas of the historic city center.’
    • ‘The rain also put normal life out of gear as a number of residential areas were flooded and the main road in the town remained under water.’
    • ‘As the tide flooded the surrounding area, the water swamped his boat.’
    • ‘During the incident water flooded an area that is beside the huge batteries that power the diesel-electric submarine.’
    • ‘What will happen next year when the water will flood Anjanvara's fertile fields?’
    • ‘Cellars of most apartments in the low-lying area were flooded, with cars and two-wheelers submerged in water.’
    • ‘Residents told the mayor and city officers that the problem began four years ago when a water pipe burst and began flooding the area.’
    • ‘In contrast, conventional hydropower technologies often rely on the construction of tall dams that flood the area behind them.’
    • ‘Rashid said flooding the area with water was not the only goal of his ministry.’
    • ‘Homes along that area were also flooded, so I just wrapped up a story.’
    • ‘More than 80 buildings in the Plovdiv area were flooded.’
    • ‘Water cooling is not provided internally and therefore the weld area is flooded with cooling water to keep the electrode wheels cool.’
    • ‘The engine room is flooded and will have to be pumped dry, as will a ballast tank in the bow of the vessel.’
    • ‘Water flooded a state park and then rushed back into the black river.’
    • ‘Blood spilled from out of their wounds and the mesmerizing water regained its former position and flooded the area where Lilac and Daikon rested.’
    • ‘Also the streets in the downtown Monterey area are flooded.’
    • ‘Many houses in this area were flooded in the 1982 disaster.’
    • ‘As a result, more than 1,600 properties across the region were flooded, as rivers such as the Ouse and Derwent reached record levels and burst their banks.’
    • ‘Cold water flooded the area, and Mira found herself panicking a little.’
    • ‘This is an open invitation to flooding once the monsoon arrives and if the Tawi does overflow it will be a disaster.’
    inundate, swamp, deluge, immerse, submerge, drown, engulf
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[no object]Become covered or submerged by a flood.
      ‘part of the vessel flooded’
      figurative ‘Sarah's eyes flooded with tears’
      • ‘I think the flood problems in Jakarta are almost impossible to solve, because the city floods every year, without fail.’
      • ‘The vessel's engine room began to flood at around 7.30 in the morning but the pumps could not keep pace with the incoming water.’
      • ‘Some roadways were flooding, and detours were set up.’
      • ‘The holds and engine room flooded, she was abandoned and later caught fire, at some stage breaking in two.’
      • ‘As she fired, two bombs struck her, one causing the engine room to flood, and the second crashed into the galley setting it ablaze.’
      • ‘The tears began filling and flooding her eyes with salt water.’
      • ‘Elected officials also had to clear up deliberately blocked toilets as the floors flooded with urine.’
    2. 1.2(of a flood) force (someone) to leave their home.
      • ‘Householders in the Cameron Grove, Butcher Terrace and Terry Street area were flooded out in the November disaster.’
      • ‘Small animals like rats and snakes that have been flooded out of their homes may seek shelter in yours.’
      • ‘Anyone who has been flooded out of their home is anxious to get back to ordinary life as soon as possible.’
      • ‘A few days after Conrad left, Louis and his people were flooded out by a storm, their tents and baggage and even some people washed away by a flooding stream.’
    3. 1.3(of a river) become swollen and overflow (its banks).
      • ‘The River Ivel was severely flooded over the weekend putting homes in Blunham, Sandy and Shefford at risk and the A1 was closed.’
      • ‘Water poured down from the mountain, feeding the gasping river, which promptly flooded its banks.’
      • ‘In Pennsylvania heavy rains caused rivers and streams to flood their banks.’
      • ‘Divers and search and rescue dogs are on high alert following warnings of rivers and streams flooding as the snow starts to melt.’
      • ‘That wooden bridge, it would lead a pathway across a river that would flood every year at spring and become a frozen corridor of still ice when the cold came around.’
      • ‘It sank near Shatnal where the Meghna meets its tributaries and often floods its banks.’
      • ‘When the river floods, it moves into the inundated rainforest.’
      • ‘Many Poles recalled the devastating floods of 1997 when torrential rain then caused the river Oder to flood its banks.’
      overflow, burst its banks, brim over, run over
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  • 2Fill or suffuse completely.

    ‘she flooded the room with light’
    [no object, with adverbial of direction] ‘sunlight flooded in at the windows’
    • ‘The room seemed to darken perceptibly even though bright sunlight flooded its every corner.’
    • ‘Her eyes snapped open, causing the sunlight to flood her senses, moments later she was still recovering.’
    • ‘An intrusive coldness suffused my arteries, flooded my veins, scalloped my core in ice.’
    • ‘His eyelids slowly fluttered open, the deep blue eyes squinting at the bright sunlight that flooded his eyes and the room he occupied.’
    • ‘Thomas slid in right after the rays of sunlight flooded the yard with a soft glow.’
    • ‘Resting him down on one of the chairs Ezra let the sunlight flood his entire body and he slowly became one with it.’
    • ‘Awareness floods her, filling her with a plethora of emotions.’
    • ‘Underground personnel had finally managed to get the blast doors to open, and flooded the room like water pouring into a bucket.’
    • ‘Blade blinked her eyes open groggily, wincing at the bright sunlight that flooded her face.’
    • ‘He awed at the power flooding his senses, filling him with unsurpassed might.’
    • ‘A light flooded the area, making her squint at its source.’
    • ‘Sunlight flooded the previously dingy room, illuminating the slightly discolored spots on the carpet and the ugly brown wallpaper.’
    • ‘Sunlight floods the spacious but sparingly furnished living room.’
    • ‘Despite the outside cold, sunlight flooded the interior and the heat became trapped.’
    • ‘Windows across the top of the front room flood the place with light, and the open space and asymmetrical shape of the front room offer good sightlines for his DIY-chic décor.’
    • ‘Lightning marvelled at the sight, for he could imagine that the room would have been flooded with sunlight in ancient times.’
    • ‘Bristling from the early morning sunlight that floods the hallway, Lauren lowers her shades to her eyes and moves towards Mindy's room.’
    • ‘A woosh of dread floods my stomach, spilling into my chest.’
    • ‘Sunlight streamed in, flooding her room with a golden glow.’
    • ‘I lied down between the gaping doorways and watched the openness of the world pass by, napping in the sunlight that flooded our car.’
    1. 2.1Overfill the carburettor of (an engine) with petrol, causing the engine to fail to start.
      • ‘An official report shows a plane crash was most likely caused by an engine being flooded with fuel.’
      • ‘The idea is to maintain a full tank, not flood the engine.’
      • ‘Is this an acceleration effect, like flooding the engine with petrol before starting a journey, or is it an unsustainable curve?’
      • ‘The biggest danger when entering the water is to create a bow wave that could flood the engine.’
      • ‘I throw the car into drive and flood the engine with my right foot.’
      • ‘The fed went from deflation, sort of stalling the engine to flooding the engine.’
      • ‘Do this before hooking up the fuel system to avoid flooding the engine with fuel.’
      • ‘Trouble can start if you go too fast as the bow wave you create could flood the engine.’
      • ‘I thought that I must have flooded something and that all would be well when the engine dried out.’
      • ‘He tried to start several more times but eventually he could smell the faint smell of gasoline meaning that he had flooded the engine.’
  • 3[no object, with adverbial of direction] Arrive in overwhelming amounts or quantities.

    ‘congratulatory messages flooded in’
    figurative ‘his old fears came flooding back’
    • ‘The get-well-soon messages have been flooding in, and the Nottingham Evening Post set up a tribute board on its online format.’
    • ‘But then she felt something change, and fear flooded through her system.’
    • ‘Unsolicited electronic messages flood into everybody's in-boxes every day.’
    • ‘However, then it became apparent that the annoying woman had got hold of his private e-mail address when the messages came flooding in.’
    • ‘Just one small word, and the familiar fears flood back in.’
    • ‘She came in from the kitchen and my body flooded with relief.’
    • ‘Unprecedented amounts of donations are flooding into the various aid agencies and everyone is more than willing to lend financial support to the relief effort.’
    • ‘More than 3,000 fax messages flooded into the studio in one day, and kept coming well into the early morning hours.’
    • ‘His key function, however, is to maintain a mood and to keep the messages flooding in.’
    • ‘He sat on the bed feeling his body slowly flooding with fear.’
    • ‘He might have noticed the way my cheeks flooded with scarlet, or how I seemed to be more reclusive than ever, but he didn't comment on it.’
    • ‘He spoke in hushed tones, and his eyes flooded with worry.’
    • ‘No sooner than he had said this, he felt a sudden surge of energy flood through him.’
    • ‘He paused for a moment, his memories now flooding back into his mind.’
    • ‘I heard her screams and then all her pain and fear came flooding in to me.’
    • ‘Fear flooded through her and she tried running faster.’
    • ‘Several of them inquire if they might purchase the program and thoughts of a yacht and early retirement flood through the owner's head.’
    • ‘With vast amounts of money flooding into the country, interest rates quickly began to converge with those in Germany even before the launch of the euro.’
    • ‘There was a full moon tonight and a moderate amount of moonlight flooded through the window.’
    • ‘Meanwhile the messages of disbelief are flooding in.’
    pour, stream, surge, swarm, pile, crowd, throng
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    1. 3.1[with object]Overwhelm with large amounts or quantities.
      ‘our switchboard was flooded with calls’
      • ‘With the prices of handsets getting slashed week after week, the market is flooded with a wide range of latest models to choose from, depending on one's personal need.’
      • ‘Most of the crowd had flooded the exits now, with only a handful of amazed onlookers diving for cover under the dugouts.’
      • ‘Or what about if the market is suddenly flooded with cheap lighters - the price then drops to an all time low of 6 for £1.’
      • ‘Police have flooded a city area with leaflets appealing for information after four men were shot - and one of them died - in the space of three weeks.’
      • ‘The changing rooms have been flooded by the juniors, and now demonstrate sedimentation patterns wonderfully.’
      • ‘It is more sophisticated than flooding an area with police officers because you have got to be in the right place at the right time.’
      • ‘By the morning, police had flooded the sleepy area.’
      • ‘When it comes to fat-loss supplements, the market has been flooded with gimmick after gimmick.’
      • ‘Adults with rattling coughs, fevers and aches flooded their makeshift exam room.’
      • ‘In the latest phase on the crackdown of pirate goods flooding the area, trading standards officers seized £91,000 worth of fake DVDs.’
      • ‘The company floods each country with engineers, who spend months studying consumer habits and potential pitfalls.’
      • ‘But when they reopened, the market was flooded with farmers trying to sell their animals as quickly as possible to avoid disease.’
      • ‘Burns wants the emphasis switched from treating to preventing disease and is encouraging radical plans to flood deprived areas with specialist health workers.’
      • ‘In a country with such a long tradition of corruption, one need not be a fortune-teller to predict that soon the black market will be flooded with such language diplomas.’
      • ‘The new car market is flooded with foreign budget brands, with more models scheduled for release in the UK this year alone than ever before.’
      • ‘The depression that followed the conclusion of war wiped out some manufacturers when British goods again flooded the market.’
      • ‘There were people already gathered and there would be soon even more crowds that would flood the street.’
      • ‘For when yields rise, the market is flooded with grain, and its price collapses.’
      • ‘The crowds cheered and flooded the basement, only to realize that no staircase led to the next floor.’
      • ‘Investors are worried that if the issuer were to choose the share option, the market could be flooded with shares, making it difficult to convert them to cash.’
      glut, swamp, saturate, oversupply, overfill, overload, overwhelm
      View synonyms
  • 4[no object] (of a woman) experience a uterine haemorrhage.


  • be in (full) flood

    • 1(of a river) be overflowing its banks.

      • ‘Both dogs went to the river, which was in flood at the time.’
      • ‘The decision to call off the event was made in the interest of safety as the river Mahon was in flood and would have constituted an unacceptable risk.’
      • ‘Following a site meeting on Wednesday, officers asked for electronic modelling work to predict how the wheel may affect the flow of the river when it is in flood and the park is under water.’
      • ‘After their arguments, tears would burst like rivers in flood and lamentations rose like smoke from the house.’
      • ‘But the river was in flood and police underwater search teams could not go into the water.’
      • ‘The agency's regional flood defence committee backed the scheme to provide a dedicated outfall from the Riccall Ings washlands which can hold nearly two billion gallons of water when the river is in flood.’
      • ‘Getting supplies to the farm depended on the rivers not being in flood.’
      • ‘The Zambezi River has been in flood for the last three months following heavy rains in Zambia and Angola.’
      • ‘Covering a river coming down in flood, you find yourself in a position to make a decision of possibly historical importance.’
      • ‘Sadly, because it is such an unusual occurrence, people take their lives into their hands by attempting to cross swollen rivers, which, when they are in flood, results in loss of life and property.’
      • ‘The giant pumps are part of a multi-million pound flood relief scheme which is designed to divert the River Tutt out of Boroughbridge when the River Ure is in flood.’
      • ‘The search was launched but it became immediately apparent that conditions were very dangerous as the river was in flood and the water visibility was down to just six inches.’
      • ‘In the 12 th century Queen Matilda came riding from London to Barking Forest for a spot of hunting only to get a soaking because the river was in flood, and so she ordered a bridge to be built instead.’
      • ‘The river begins expanding in early March and continues in flood until late June.’
      • ‘The river is in flood at present with water discoloured but this appears to have had no detrimental effect on catches.’
      • ‘The reason for this was that these were only licences to capture water when the river was in flood, so naturally licence holders would need to spend quite a bit of money on a dam to hold their water.’
      • ‘The Environment Agency has agreed to remove material from the Skell after members of the public raised concerns over the quantity brought down when it and the River Laver were in flood.’
      • ‘These have been days of rain, and now the river in flood carries its familiar load of dissolved earth, plastic trash, whole trees.’
      • ‘When the river is in flood seepage is occurring at several locations.’
      • ‘When he wishes to replace a footbridge, swept away by the river in flood, he gives instructions for it to be built of larch, because it is cheap and quick.’
      swollen, congested
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1Be progressing or talking vigorously or enthusiastically.
        ‘discussion was already in full flood and refused to be dammed’
        ‘she was in full flood about the glories of bicycling’
        • ‘At which point certain members of the audience could restrain themselves no longer and began to heckle and then question these assertions whilst he was in full flood.’
        • ‘He was in full flood when the chairman of the committee stopped him with the words, "You are not a member of this committee, John. You are not entitled to speak!"’


Old English flōd, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch vloed and German Flut, also to flow.