Definition of sluice in English:

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Pronunciation: /slo͞os/


1 (also sluice gate) A sliding gate or other device for controlling the flow of water, especially one in a lock gate.
Example sentences
  • The sluice gate regulates the volume of water that strikes the wheel, and has to be judged with some care to prevent the mill stones from spinning too fast and vibrating too much.
  • Xiaolangdi, a major reservoir along the notoriously flood-prone river, opened its sluice gate to release extra water from downpours during the past week, the report said.
  • The pent-up waters, controlled by a sluice gate, were directed past the mill wheel, driving the wooden gears, shafts and millstones.
1.1 (also sluiceway) An artificial water channel for carrying off overflow or surplus water.
Example sentences
  • These rapids range from tame sluiceways to a shoulder-high waterfall.
  • We will have an intersection here the size of a village, twin bridges spanning the banks of the mighty ring road, a centrifuge pulsing cars through sluiceways.
  • The Jordan Valley is a perfect avian sluiceway; for millennia a feathery tide has ridden it, indifferent to the human dramas playing out below.
1.2(In gold mining) a channel or trough constructed with grooves into which a current of water is directed in order to separate gold from the sand or gravel containing it.
Example sentences
  • They have 1.7 grams after two programmes out of six which seems reasonable bearing in mind that they also have some left not weighed in the fibrous material they use to catch the gold particles from their sluice.
  • Huge mounds of river rock stand with great hubris along the creek banks, remnants of the exhaustive sluice and placer mining operations that once took place on the town's perimeter.
  • Gravels were added to a sluice box, and gravity-sorting concentrated the gold.
2An act of rinsing or showering with water: a sluice with cold water
More example sentences
  • She stopped, staring, as several score thoughts and fears, feelings and emotions kicked her in the tail, clenching her gut and sending a sluice of cold water down her spine.
  • Having left my shoes outside at the reception desk I was given a locker for my clothes and belongings, before being ushered by the receptionist into the shower room for a thorough sluice down and then put into a steam room for 15 minutes.
  • In the cage, I could hear only the sluice and swoosh of rushing and retreating water.


[with object]
1Wash or rinse freely with a stream or shower of water: she sluiced her face in cold water crews sluiced down the decks of their ship
More example sentences
  • The frog in his throat returned and tried to ruin the speech but he managed to drown the little creature with copious glasses of water, like sluicing a spider down the plughole of your bath.
  • The school closed off that particular area and it has been sluiced and cleaned.
  • Great dollops of water sluiced the very long glossy leaves of the sweet chestnuts.
wash (down), rinse, clean, cleanse
1.1 [no object] (Of water) pour, flow, or shower freely: the waves sluiced over them
More example sentences
  • What he wants to do is send you to bed with ice water sluicing down your nape and a knot of unease in your gut.
  • She's the kind of boat that demands sure knot tying from her crew and an acceptance of salt water sluicing down one's neck and ending up in one's boots.
  • He drank enormous quantities of water, but so great was the heat of the day and of his exertions, that the water sluiced through the interstices of his flesh and out at all his pores.


Middle English (as a noun): from Old French escluse 'sluice gate', based on Latin excludere 'exclude'. The verb dates from the late 16th century.

  • exclude from Late Middle English:

    Exclude is from Latin excludere ‘shut out’, from ex- ‘out’ and claudere ‘to shut’. The same root gives us, via French, a sluice gate used to shut off water flow, while seclude (Late Middle English) comes from claudere combined with se- ‘apart’.

Words that rhyme with sluice

abstruse, abuse, adduce, Ballets Russes, Belarus, Bruce, burnous, caboose, charlotte russe, conduce, deduce, deuce, diffuse, douce, educe, excuse, goose, induce, introduce, juice, Larousse, loose, luce, misuse, moose, mousse, noose, obtuse, Palouse, produce, profuse, puce, recluse, reduce, Rousse, seduce, Sousse, spruce, traduce, truce, use, vamoose, Zeus

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: sluice

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