\ ˈslüs How to pronounce sluice (audio) \

Definition of sluice

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : an artificial passage for water (as in a millstream) fitted with a valve or gate for stopping or regulating flow
b : a body of water pent up behind a floodgate
2 : a dock gate : floodgate
3a : a stream flowing through a floodgate
b : a channel to drain or carry off surplus water
4 : a long inclined trough usually on the ground especially : such a contrivance paved usually with riffles to hold quicksilver for catching gold


sluiced; sluicing

Definition of sluice (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to draw off by or through a sluice
2a : to wash with or in water running through or from a sluice
b : to drench with a sudden flow : flush
3 : to transport (logs) in a sluice

intransitive verb

: to pour as if from a sluice

Synonyms for sluice

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of sluice in a Sentence

Verb he sluiced the gutters with lots of water in order to make sure they were clear
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun An emergent mining technique involved shovelling gravel and dirt into an open-ended trough, called a sluice box, then running water over it. David Owen, The New Yorker, 11 May 2022 To protect the historic structure until work can resume, INAH will cover the tunnel’s artworks, which appear on a sluice gate used by the city’s early colonial government, with soil, reports Isaac Schultz for Gizmodo. Isis Davis-marks, Smithsonian Magazine, 29 July 2021 To tunnel under walkways, attach a pointed sluice nozzle to a length of PVC pipe. Merle Henkenius, Popular Mechanics, 25 June 2021 Seven Springs Gem Mining, featuring geology and nature lessons where amethyst, rose quartz, emerald and other crystals can be found using a sifting tray in the sluice. Megan Swift, USA TODAY, 12 June 2021 That date, a watershed of life, not just of hers, the sluice gate of a dam on the river that blocks the waters’ flow. Claudio Magris, Harper's Magazine, 25 May 2021 Or, slice the leeks lengthwise and hold the cut sides under a tap, letting the cascade of water sluice away the dirt. New York Times, 17 May 2021 Save the Vaal Environment believes that the opening of sluice gates at the Vaal Dam in February has facilitated the rapid spread of water lettuce downstream, damaging aquatic life along the way. Tawanda Karombo, Quartz Africa, 28 Feb. 2021 But a torrent of steel-gray water spills through the concrete sluice, forming the beginnings of the Connecticut River. Washington Post, 15 Jan. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The public became aware of the matter after U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider announced last week that Smith concocted a kick-back scheme to sluice $70,000 from his re-election account between 2012 and 2019. M.l. Elrick, Detroit Free Press, 19 Sep. 2020 Markets are often watery because they are sluiced down, or because of the melting of the ice used to stop food from spoiling. The Economist, 26 May 2020 The water sluicing down the rocks is glitter and mist. Seija Rankin,, 22 Jan. 2020 The precious metal is washed out of the dirt with which it is mixed by a panning, sluicing or washing process in the river below. Scott Harrison, Los Angeles Times, 25 Sep. 2019 Even in an era when industrial-scale mining has been introduced in the region, independent gold miners are still digging and sluicing in the nearby Klondike Valley, using excavators and diesel pumps, as well as shovels and gold pans. Smithsonian, 24 Oct. 2019 Or simply girls like herself raised to womanhood in the Midwest, beside a steel mill, in a small house obsessively painted and sluiced with Fels-Naptha as though at any moment they might be forced to leave. The Economist, 15 Aug. 2019 Needing to catch fire Friday, despite teeing off in sluicing rain, the four-time major champion hunkered down to the task. Rob Hodgetts, CNN, 19 July 2019 Here is the birria de res of my life: juicy but slightly crisped, decorated only with diced, raw white onion, and sluiced in a furious salsa de guajillo. Gustavo Arellano, Los Angeles Times, 31 July 2019 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sluice.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of sluice


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1596, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for sluice


Middle English sluse, alteration of scluse, from Anglo-French escluse, from Late Latin exclusa, from Latin, feminine of exclusus, past participle of excludere to exclude

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Time Traveler for sluice

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The first known use of sluice was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near sluice

slug worm


sluice box

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Statistics for sluice

Last Updated

14 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Sluice.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for sluice


\ ˈslüs How to pronounce sluice (audio) \

Kids Definition of sluice

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a man-made channel for water with a gate for controlling its flow or changing its direction
2 : a device for controlling the flow of water
3 : a sloping trough for washing ore or for floating logs


sluiced; sluicing

Kids Definition of sluice (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to wash in a stream of water running through a sluice

More from Merriam-Webster on sluice

Nglish: Translation of sluice for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about sluice


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