a pipe conducting water from a head gate to a waterwheel.
a conduit for conveying water to a power plant.
a sluicelike contrivance used to control the flow of water.

Origin of penstock

First recorded in 1600–10; pen2 + stock Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for penstock

Historical Examples of penstock

  • And that's where you will go back and back and back, as you said about building the penstock?

    Spacehounds of IPC

    Edward Elmer Smith

  • It is from this flume that the penstock draws water for the wheel.

    Electricity for the farm

    Frederick Irving Anderson

  • But the guest grabbed the penstock while it was still vibrating.

  • Outside should be a penstock, to carry off the superfluous water.

    Hints on cheese-making

    Thomas Day Curtis

  • This is a type of wheel mounted on the lower end of a vertical or horizontal shaft, within, or at the bottom, of a penstock.


    James Slough Zerbe

British Dictionary definitions for penstock



a conduit that supplies water to a hydroelectric power plant
a channel bringing water from the head gates to a water wheel
a sluice for controlling water flow

Word Origin for penstock

C17: from pen ² + stock
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

penstock in Science



A sluice or gate used to control a flow of water.
A pipe or conduit used to carry water to a water wheel or turbine.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.