1. an artificial channel for conducting water, often fitted with a gate (sluice gate) at the upper end for regulating the flow.
  2. the body of water held back or controlled by a sluice gate.
  3. any contrivance for regulating a flow from or into a receptacle.
  4. a channel, especially one carrying off surplus water; drain.
  5. a stream of surplus water.
  6. an artificial stream or channel of water for moving solid matter: a lumbering sluice.
  7. Also called sluice box. Mining. a long, sloping trough or the like, with grooves on the bottom, into which water is directed to separate gold from gravel or sand.

verb (used with object), sluiced, sluic·ing.

  1. to let out (water) by or as if by opening a sluice.
  2. to drain (a pond, lake, etc.) by or as if by opening a sluice.
  3. to open a sluice upon.
  4. to flush or cleanse with a rush of water: to sluice the decks of a boat.
  5. Mining. to wash in a sluice.
  6. to send (logs) down a sluiceway.

verb (used without object), sluiced, sluic·ing.

  1. to flow or pour through or as if through a sluice.


  1. Also called: sluiceway a channel that carries a rapid current of water, esp one that has a sluicegate to control the flow
  2. the body of water controlled by a sluicegate
  3. See sluicegate
  4. mining an inclined trough for washing ore, esp one having riffles on the bottom to trap particles
  5. an artificial channel through which logs can be floated
  6. informal a brief wash in running water


  1. (tr) to draw out or drain (water, etc) from (a pond, etc) by means of a sluice
  2. (tr) to wash or irrigate with a stream of water
  3. (tr) mining to wash in a sluice
  4. (tr) to send (logs, etc) down a sluice
  5. (intr; often foll by away or out) (of water, etc) to run or flow from or as if from a sluice
  6. (tr) to provide with a sluice

n.c.1400, earlier scluse (mid-14c.), a shortening of Old French escluse “sluice, floodgate” (Modern French écluse), from Late Latin exclusa “barrier to shut out water” (in aqua exclusa “water shut out,” i.e. separated from the river), from fem. singular of Latin exclusus, past participle of excludere “to shut out” (see exclude). v.1590s, from sluice (n.). Related: Sluiced; sluicing.

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