\ 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 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, "Africa’s biggest air polluter is now battling sewage flows into a major water source," 28 Feb. 2021 But a torrent of steel-gray water spills through the concrete sluice, forming the beginnings of the Connecticut River. Washington Post, "He escaped the cacophony by strapping on snowshoes and slipping into the Great North Woods," 15 Jan. 2021 Glancing around, the solo miners and sluice-filling duos up and down the river seemed intent on extracting the most from every shovelful. Peter Reese, Popular Mechanics, "How to Become an Amateur Gold Miner," 27 Aug. 2020 When the time comes to up the volume of material being processed, purchasing a metal or plastic sluice multiplies throughput by almost 10 times for less than $200. Peter Reese, Popular Mechanics, "How to Become an Amateur Gold Miner," 27 Aug. 2020 Officials also noted there are many similar sluice pipes throughout the state along the shorline and inlet areas When the tide is coming in or out, the sheer force of the current prevents swimming to safety, police said. Fox News, "Connecticut police, wife save man who fell into water while crabbing and almost swept into pipe," 25 June 2020 Watched by Italy’s prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, and a bevvy of ministers and officials, all 78 movable sluice gates comprising the MOSE sea barrier reared up, blocking the inlets to the lagoon that surrounds the city. The Economist, "Parting the waters Venice tests its flood defences," 12 July 2020 The man ended up trapped at the entrance of a sluice pipe that runs under the roadway as his wife called 911. Fox News, "Connecticut police, wife save man who fell into water while crabbing and almost swept into pipe," 25 June 2020 Mining, for the Joneses, involved a bulldozer and a steel, 100-foot sluice box. Author: Abigail Curtis, Anchorage Daily News, "Decades before COVID-19 claimed a Maine woman, she lived the frontier life in Alaska," 15 May 2020 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, "Former Macomb prosecutor arraigned on obstruction of justice charge, can't leave Michigan," 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, "Curbing zoonotic diseases Will wet markets be hung out to dry after the pandemic?," 26 May 2020 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

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

15 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sluice.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for sluice



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

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