See more synonyms for sluice on
  1. an artificial channel for conducting water, often fitted with a gate (sluice gate) at the upper end for regulating the flow.
  2. the body of water held back or controlled by a sluice gate.
  3. any contrivance for regulating a flow from or into a receptacle.
  4. a channel, especially one carrying off surplus water; drain.
  5. a stream of surplus water.
  6. an artificial stream or channel of water for moving solid matter: a lumbering sluice.
  7. 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, sluic·ing.
  1. to let out (water) by or as if by opening a sluice.
  2. to drain (a pond, lake, etc.) by or as if by opening a sluice.
  3. to open a sluice upon.
  4. to flush or cleanse with a rush of water: to sluice the decks of a boat.
  5. Mining. to wash in a sluice.
  6. to send (logs) down a sluiceway.
verb (used without object), sluiced, sluic·ing.
  1. 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 formssluice·like, adjectiveun·der·sluice, nounun·sluiced, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for sluice

flume, soak, gush, valve, pour, wash, douse, flush, gate, channel, trough

Examples from the Web for sluice

Historical Examples of sluice

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

    The Native Soil

    Alan Edward Nourse

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

  • Next, a fresh attempt was made to blow up the sluice, but failed.

    Dick o' the Fens

    George Manville Fenn

  • Why, she spoiled hers, showing us how to come through that sluice, didn't she?

    The Rival Campers Ashore

    Ruel Perley Smith

  • The range of smoky mills driven by a sluice from the fall had better be away.

    Northern Travel

    Bayard Taylor

British Dictionary definitions for sluice


  1. Also called: sluiceway a channel that carries a rapid current of water, esp one that has a sluicegate to control the flow
  2. the body of water controlled by a sluicegate
  3. See sluicegate
  4. mining an inclined trough for washing ore, esp one having riffles on the bottom to trap particles
  5. an artificial channel through which logs can be floated
  6. informal a brief wash in running water
  1. (tr) to draw out or drain (water, etc) from (a pond, etc) by means of a sluice
  2. (tr) to wash or irrigate with a stream of water
  3. (tr) mining to wash in a sluice
  4. (tr) to send (logs, etc) down a sluice
  5. (intr; often foll by away or out) (of water, etc) to run or flow from or as if from a sluice
  6. (tr) to provide with a sluice
Derived Formssluicelike, adjective

Word Origin for sluice

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

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