\ 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

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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 The rocks fall to the ground in a big pile, and silt settles in riffles on the sloping ramp of the sluice. Nell Zink, Harper's magazine, "The Bird Angle," 28 Oct. 2019 In the nearest crater, the crewmen were running a pump off a small generator, washing mud toward a sluice with a hose. Jon Lee Anderson, The New Yorker, "Blood Gold in the Brazilian Rain Forest," 4 Nov. 2019 The standard mining setup consists of a loud pump, a heavy hose, a conveyor belt going up, and a sluice box going down. Nell Zink, Harper's magazine, "The Bird Angle," 28 Oct. 2019 Kids can dump their mining rough into a mining sluice outside the cave entrance and discover their treasures. Amy Schwabe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Hunt for rocks and fossils at these 2 Wisconsin destinations," 18 Oct. 2019 Suction dredge miners use an underwater hose to suck up gravel and sort it for gold in a sluice box mounted on a watercraft. Keith Ridler, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Judge: Lawsuit can proceed against suction-dredge miner," 1 Oct. 2019 During July’s floods, which ranked among the worst in years, Nepali officials said India had kept some of the embankments’ sluice gates closed for too long, despite requests to open them. Bhadra Sharma, New York Times, "As Deadly Floods Engulf Nepal Border, Anger Turns to India," 29 Sep. 2019 Split the difference with a plate of both, topped with meaty bolognese and a sluice of béchamel. Mark Kurlyandchik, Detroit Free Press, "These are 9 definitive Downriver dining destinations," 6 Sep. 2019 In summer, runoff from cloudbursts etches into the softer limestones and sluices through the deep runnels. National Geographic, "Everything to know about Bryce Canyon National Park," 19 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The water sluicing down the rocks is glitter and mist. Seija Rankin,, "Read an exclusive excerpt of Saint X, the buzzy new novel about a missing teenager," 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, "From the Archives: 1932 gold mining in San Gabriel Canyon," 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, "Gold Fever! Deadly Cold! And the Amazing True Adventures of Jack London in the Wild," 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, "Obituary: Toni Morrison died on August 5th," 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, "Emotional Rory McIlroy feels 'love' in dramatic late Open bid," 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, "What we’re into: Zacatecan-style birria de res in Hawthorne," 31 July 2019 The only noise is our motorboat sluicing through caramel water. Ewen Bell, National Geographic, "Discover why Laos is the world’s next great foodie destination," 10 July 2019 The goal Monday is to determine if J50 is in shape for an emergency provision of live fish, sluiced off the back of a boat, said Michael Milstein, Spokesman for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries. Lynda V. Mapes, The Seattle Times, "Rescue effort for sick orca underway, but family’s location remains unknown," 6 Aug. 2018

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.

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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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for sluice

Last Updated

30 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sluice.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for sluice


How to pronounce sluice (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of sluice

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an artificial passage for water to flow through with a gate for controlling the flow
: a device (such as a floodgate) used for controlling the flow of water



English Language Learners Definition of sluice (Entry 2 of 2)

: to wash or spray (something or someone) with a stream of water
: to flow or pour down heavily


\ 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

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sluice

Spanish Central: Translation of sluice

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

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