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spate (n.)

early 15c., originally Scottish and northern English, "a sudden flood, especially one caused by heavy rains or a snowmelt," of unknown origin. Perhaps from Old French espoit "flood," from Dutch spuiten "to flow, spout;" related to spout (v.). Figurative sense of "unusual quantity" is attested from 1610s.

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Definitions of spate from WordNet

spate (n.)
(often followed by `of') a large number or amount or extent;
Synonyms: batch / deal / flock / good deal / great deal / hatful / heap / lot / mass / mess / mickle / mint / mountain / muckle / passel / peck / pile / plenty / pot / quite a little / raft / sight / slew / stack / tidy sum / wad
spate (n.)
a sudden forceful flow;
Synonyms: rush / surge / upsurge
spate (n.)
the occurrence of a water flow resulting from sudden rain or melting snow;
Synonyms: freshet
From wordnet.princeton.edu