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[sloos] /slus/
an artificial channel for conducting water, often fitted with a gate (sluice gate) at the upper end for regulating the flow.
the body of water held back or controlled by a sluice gate.
any contrivance for regulating a flow from or into a receptacle.
a channel, especially one carrying off surplus water; drain.
a stream of surplus water.
an artificial stream or channel of water for moving solid matter:
a lumbering sluice.
Also called sluice box. Mining. a long, sloping trough or the like, with grooves on the bottom, into which water is directed to separate gold from gravel or sand.
verb (used with object), sluiced, sluicing.
to let out (water) by or as if by opening a sluice.
to drain (a pond, lake, etc.) by or as if by opening a sluice.
to open a sluice upon.
to flush or cleanse with a rush of water:
to sluice the decks of a boat.
Mining. to wash in a sluice.
to send (logs) down a sluiceway.
verb (used without object), sluiced, sluicing.
to flow or pour through or as if through a sluice.
Origin of sluice
1300-50; Middle English scluse (noun) < Old French escluse < Late Latin exclūsa, a water barrier, noun use of feminine of Latin exclūsus, past participle of exclūdere to exclude
Related forms
sluicelike, adjective
undersluice, noun
unsluiced, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for sluice
Historical Examples
  • Another cord closes the sluice and everything is stationary.

  • It was not far from the head of the sluice, and, therefore, a most critical position.

    Lines in Pleasant Places William Senior
  • Part of that stream forms a sluice for a water-mill, and at or near this mill The laws of Gortyn.

  • The Mud-pups didn't understand how to sluice them down properly after operations.

    The Native Soil Alan Edward Nourse
  • They had to get their logs through, and the only way to do it was to sluice McCanes first, and charge him with the time.

    The Boss of Wind River David Goodger (
  • The range of smoky mills driven by a sluice from the fall had better be away.

    Northern Travel Bayard Taylor
  • One life, one love, is the Christian idea, and into this sluice or mold it has been endeavoring to compress the whole world.

    The Financier Theodore Dreiser
  • The herring run this sluice and jump the gate with perfect ease.

    Wild Life Near Home Dallas Lore Sharp
  • The puddling-box is used only in small mining operations, and never with the sluice, or in hydraulic claims.

  • And on reaching the pond, they opened the sluice, and whish!

    In the Roar of the Sea Sabine Baring-Gould
British Dictionary definitions for sluice


Also called sluiceway. a channel that carries a rapid current of water, esp one that has a sluicegate to control the flow
the body of water controlled by a sluicegate
(mining) an inclined trough for washing ore, esp one having riffles on the bottom to trap particles
an artificial channel through which logs can be floated
(informal) a brief wash in running water
(transitive) to draw out or drain (water, etc) from (a pond, etc) by means of a sluice
(transitive) to wash or irrigate with a stream of water
(transitive) (mining) to wash in a sluice
(transitive) to send (logs, etc) down a sluice
(intransitive; often foll by away or out) (of water, etc) to run or flow from or as if from a sluice
(transitive) to provide with a sluice
Derived Forms
sluicelike, adjective
Word Origin
C14: from Old French escluse, from Late Latin exclūsa aqua water shut out, from Latin exclūdere to shut out, exclude
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for sluice

c.1400, earlier scluse (mid-14c.), a shortening of Old French escluse "sluice, floodgate" (Modern French écluse), from Late Latin exclusa "barrier to shut out water" (in aqua exclusa "water shut out," i.e. separated from the river), from fem. singular of Latin exclusus, past participle of excludere "to shut out" (see exclude).


1590s, from sluice (n.). Related: Sluiced; sluicing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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