A gate valve is a valve that opens by lifting a round or rectangular gate/wedge out of the path of the fluid. The distinct feature of a gate valve is the sealing surfaces between the gate and seats are planar, so gate valves are often used when a straight-line flow of fluid and minimum restriction is desired. The gate faces can form a wedge shape or they can be parallel.
Gate valves are primarily used to permit or prevent the flow of liquids, but typical gate valves shouldn't be used for regulating flow, unless they are specifically designed for that purpose. Because of their ability to cut through liquids, gate valves are often used in the petroleum industry.