\ 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 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 The Maharashtra and Karnataka dam authorities were forced to open sluice gates due to incessant rains, resulting in flooding downstream along the Krishna. Niharika Sharma, Quartz India, "At least 350 have already died in India’s monsoon floods this year—and it is not over yet," 19 Aug. 2019 To quell the damage, a Nepalese police official, Ishwarei Dahal, says 371,000 cusecs of water have been drained from all 56 of the Koshi River's sluice gates on the Koshi barrage. Fox News, "Flash flooding kills at least 47 in Nepal, dozens missing," 14 July 2019 This past winter, the state saw cold storms alternating with atmospheric rivers, causing warm rain to sluice over the snowpack and accelerate runoff. San Diego Union-Tribune, "California to face more extreme wet and dry seasons in the future," 9 July 2019 Among the problems with these motivational mantras is this one: Most of us who lack these skills cannot utter such affirmations or simply decide to become more upbeat and positive after years of digging negative sluices in our neural pathways. Andrew Reiner, Washington Post, "Life’s stresses often sink me. Here’s how I decided to change that.," 4 Feb. 2018 Over time, a growing share of Dutch citizens worked in commercial interests and industries in port cities protected by an extensive network of dikes and sluices. Dagomar Degroot, Washington Post, "Some places flourished in the Little Ice Age. There are lessons for us now.," 19 Feb. 2018 Water that sluices through the dike during the wet season may be enough to bring some fish farms back to what was once the main part of the lake, but that's—quite literally—just a drop in the bucket. Ken Jennings, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Aral Sea Is Refilling for the First Time in Decades," 25 June 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 One option, which has not yet been attempted, is to sluice live king salmon to her from the back of a boat as a way to get medicine into her, as well as critical hydration. Lynda V. Mapes, The Seattle Times, "Concerns grow for young orca’s life as it struggles to swim with family in Salish Sea," 3 Sep. 2018 Main Street, also known as Frederick Road, was transformed into a waterway over the weekend, as brown water sluiced through town, destroying shops and upending cars. Eliott C. Mclaughlin, CNN, "'It's even worse': Ellicott City, still recovering from 2016 flood, hammered again," 28 May 2018 This past year, wildfires and mudslides have ravaged California, and hurricanes have sluiced through Houston and Puerto Rico. Rachel Riederer, The New Republic, "Can Rivers Be People Too?," 9 May 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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Statistics for sluice

Time Traveler for sluice

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

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on sluice

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sluice

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sluice

Spanish Central: Translation of sluice

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

Comments on sluice

What made you want to look up sluice? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to engage in dissolute behavior

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