Definition of

Spate

  1. (noun, event) the occurrence of a water flow resulting from sudden rain or melting snow
  2. (noun, event) a sudden forceful flow
  3. (noun, quantity) (often followed by `of') a large number or amount or extent
    a deal of trouble
    a lot of money
    he made a mint on the stock market
    see the rest of the winners in our huge passel of photos
    it must have cost plenty
    a slew of journalists
    a wad of money

via WordNet, Princeton University

Origin of the word Spate

  1. early 15c., originally Scottish and northern English, "a sudden flood, especially one caused by heavy rains or a snowmelt," of unknown origin. Perhaps from O.Fr. espoit "flood," from Du. spuiten "to flow, spout;" related to spout. Figurative sense of "unusual quantity" is attested from 1610s. more

via Online Etymology Dictionary, ©2001 Douglas Harper

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