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to stand in the gates
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Gate \Gate\ (g[=a]t), n. [OE. [yogh]et, [yogh]eat, giat, gate, door, AS. geat, gat, gate, door; akin to OS., D., & Icel. gat opening, hole, and perh. to E. gate a way, gait, and get, v. Cf. Gate a way, 3d Get.] 1. A large door or passageway in the wall of a city, of an inclosed field or place, or of a grand edifice, etc.; also, the movable structure of timber, metal, etc., by which the passage can be closed. [1913 Webster] 2. An opening for passage in any inclosing wall, fence, or barrier; or the suspended framework which closes or opens a passage. Also, figuratively, a means or way of entrance or of exit. [1913 Webster] Knowest thou the way to Dover? Both stile and gate, horse way and footpath. --Shak. [1913 Webster] Opening a gate for a long war. --Knolles. [1913 Webster] 3. A door, valve, or other device, for stopping the passage of water through a dam, lock, pipe, etc. [1913 Webster] 4. (Script.) The places which command the entrances or access; hence, place of vantage; power; might. [1913 Webster] The gates of hell shall not prevail against it. --Matt. xvi. 18. [1913 Webster] 5. In a lock tumbler, the opening for the stump of the bolt to pass through or into. [1913 Webster] 6. (Founding) (a) The channel or opening through which metal is poured into the mold; the ingate. (b) The waste piece of metal cast in the opening; a sprue or sullage piece. [Written also geat and git.] [1913 Webster] Gate chamber, a recess in the side wall of a canal lock, which receives the opened gate. Gate channel. See Gate, 5. Gate hook, the hook-formed piece of a gate hinge. Gate money, entrance money for admission to an inclosure. Gate tender, one in charge of a gate, as at a railroad crossing. Gate valva, a stop valve for a pipe, having a sliding gate which affords a straight passageway when open. Gate vein (Anat.), the portal vein. To break gates (Eng. Univ.), to enter a college inclosure after the hour to which a student has been restricted. To stand in the gate or To stand in the gates, to occupy places or advantage, power, or defense. [1913 Webster]