Definition of sluice in English:



  • 1A sliding gate or other device for controlling the flow of water, especially one in a lock gate.

    ‘the water gushed through the sluices’
    ‘lake levels are now regulated by sluices’
    • ‘The track was not used often, but had a water ditch on one side which would regularly have to be drained through a sluice gate.’
    • ‘Her mind opened, a huge sluice gate to the onslaught of maddened thoughts.’
    • ‘Mr Hanson was dressed apart from his shoes and socks, which were discovered near the reservoir's sluice gate, along with a house key on a ring.’
    • ‘On the 13 th of May, 1935, at 4: 40 am, the sluice gate to the coffer dam which had protected the new basin was opened and the water rushed in.’
    • ‘Its waters are only a sluice gate away from being part of the Port Solent harbour.’
    • ‘If it isn't going over the sluice gate then it isn't raining too much.’
    • ‘The Environment Agency has already agreed to provide £220,000 from a levy on local authorities to fund the first two phases of the scheme - an embankment and a sluice gate.’
    • ‘The bridge is separated into two parts by a wooden sluice gate.’
    • ‘He could hear Joe working the handle of the sluice that would send water gushing into the other troughs.’
    • ‘The Village Voice put its sassiest junior movie critic on the Meyer beat, opening the sluice gate to torrents of mannered enthusiasm.’
    • ‘When it's finished we want to test it by blocking up the sluice gate using a bale of hay or something similar.’
    • ‘We have restored electric supply to the salt works, constructed a sluice gate with the low investment of 24 lakes to check overflow of flood water with the support from salt dept.’
    • ‘If the sluices were co-ordinated with the tidal barrier the whole water level from Malton to Barmby could be drastically lowered and reduce flooding.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Work will include restoration of the sluice gate and ironwork, de-silting the pond and replacing the edging stones.’
    • ‘There is one sluice gate open at the moment, with conditions best for fly fishing.’
    • ‘Other work will include restoration of the sluice gate, iron work, edging stones and walling.’
    • ‘The pent-up waters, controlled by a sluice gate, were directed past the mill wheel, driving the wooden gears, shafts and millstones.’
    • ‘This large drain runs straight in a North Easterly direction, under various bridges, the Well Creek, eventually ending at a sluice which separates the fresh water from the salt water of the Tidal Ouse.’
    • ‘Another option is to open sluices, releasing water and lowering river levels.’
    • ‘The fields are bounded by drainage ditches and sluices are now being added so that the water levels can be controlled to provide the optimum conditions.’
    • ‘Sadly, the remains of the mill itself were demolished on safety grounds in the late 1950s, but the mill lades, complete with sluice gate, survive and form an attractive feature of the gardens.’
    • ‘A single spotlight on the sluice gate attracts the shrimp.’
    • ‘A sluice gate, half hidden behind the roof of the mill, controls the water to power the waterwheel.’
    1. 1.1An artificial water channel for carrying off overflow or surplus water.
      • ‘The Jordan Valley is a perfect avian sluiceway; for millennia a feathery tide has ridden it, indifferent to the human dramas playing out below.’
      • ‘Dozens of small balsa-wood structures were scattered on the cement floor, both within and outside the ambit of a crude wooden sluice system that carried a fitfully circulating trickle of water.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He even made a sluice of tin and boards to catch and carry the rainwater to the parched crops.’
      • ‘Both of these developments necessitated the construction of dams, sluices, and water channels, the design of which influenced the construction of reservoirs for water supply under gravity.’
      • ‘There is a nice park with picnic tables at the base of the dam, and above you can actually walk along the top of the colossal structure, observing the sluices and massive spillway chute from a birds-eye view.’
      • ‘The buildings are long gone, but some foundations are still there, as well as the nearby mill stream and part of a dam and sluiceway.’
      • ‘He chops wood, mows his own field, goes knee-deep into mud to clean sluices in his own pond, prunes back elder trees and picks pears.’
      • ‘Before the construction of dams and barrages, floodwaters would spill out of the river's banks and, channeled by sluices and dikes, cover most of the agricultural land.’
      • ‘Since acquiring the redundant farmland the trust has carried out a programme of restoration which has included restoring sluices, re-opening waterways and a grazing policy.’
      • ‘This had caused levels in the lodge to fluctuate and water had to be diverted from the stream via a sluice.’
      • ‘These rapids range from tame sluiceways to a shoulder-high waterfall.’
      drain, sluice, sluiceway, culvert, spillway, flume, sewer
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    2. 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 ore containing it.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’


  • 1 Wash 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’
    • ‘Then sluice everything down with a coffee tarek.’
    • ‘The school closed off that particular area and it has been sluiced and cleaned.’
    • ‘Especially as it said that in case of contact with the mucous membrane - that's another expression to make us girls feel good about ourselves - you're supposed to sluice yourself down right away with lots of water.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Having no towel, she had to get out and stand for a while, sluicing the water from her body in an attempt to dry herself enough to put her clothes back on.’
    • ‘Coming up and sluicing the water from his face he got his bearings and then swam over to where Rebecca was leaning against the wall.’
    • ‘And doctors' surgeries be audited like a family bathroom, to save harmful, unnatural chemicals being sluiced around these places of healing?’
    • ‘Water was pumped by an old fire-engine from the creek to the quarry to sluice clay off the stone.’
    • ‘Inside he is sluiced, scrubbed, massaged, rinsed, and blown dry with the automated precision associated with a modern car wash.’
    • ‘Through one of the view ports I watched a young woman wearing rubber boots above her knees scoop up all the, er, used hay, into a rolling cart before she sluiced the floor with soapy water and began to mop.’
    • ‘They were in no mood to squander it as they started afresh when play commenced at 11 am, 30 minutes late as the last of the overnight storms were sluiced from the field.’
    • ‘We still use it for watering the garden and I have been known to sluice the back of my neck under it on a hot afternoon (not often this summer).’
    • ‘Once the water is sluiced off, the brakes might suddenly get big power.’
    • ‘I can't cite any similar highhandness on Woodward's part, nor is he the sort to sluice the words of authorities directly into his journalism.’
    • ‘As winter came and went, and the bulldozer came and went with it, the main access roads turned into deep trenches, sluicing runoff and causing serious erosion.’
    • ‘Great dollops of water sluiced the very long glossy leaves of the sweet chestnuts.’
    • ‘With a barn that moves weekly, there is no concrete floor where manure builds up, no permanently muddy patch that must be sluiced off.’
    • ‘He had used the old seaman's trick of scattering the floorboards with salt and then sluicing them with boiling water and then scouring them with the hard bristled brush.’
    • ‘And once we'd boxed up his butchering gear and sluiced down the boards of the wagon, a bucket at a time, it became something we never talked on again.’
    wash, wash down, rinse, swill down, clean, cleanse, flush
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    1. 1.1[no object, with adverbial of direction](of water) pour or flow freely.
      ‘the waves sluiced over them’
      • ‘Popping up into the air, he can see through the water sluicing off his mask that Simon is yelling, but he can't hear what.’
      • ‘His laughter, she thought, was worth it every time - that slow cool trickle that felt like the ocean sluicing over your toes.’
      • ‘From inside the bedroom there came the sounds of industrious clearing up and the sound of water sluicing into a large tub filled the antechamber.’
      • ‘As the hot water sluiced into the sunken tub, easing her aches and pains, she began to think about the gruelling casting.’
      • ‘It is a closed circuit operation that uses mostly ground water for sluicing and settling pond operation.’
      • ‘The warm water sluicing over my body chased the rest of the cotton of too long a sleep from my mind.’
      • ‘Ramirez turned the taps, and hot water sluiced into the vast bath as he walked around the gargantuan chamber, pulling various bottles out of the cabinets that lined the upper reaches, sealed against the invasion of water.’
      • ‘There is plastic in the trees from the last floods that obviously sluiced over our path.’
      • ‘Next obstacle: a normally shallow creek ford that ends up sluicing over our floorboards.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘If rain falls into the bird's mouth, theoretically it could sluice down the windpipe past the larynx and into the lungs.’
      • ‘Six feet of water had sluiced through the town and washed away hundreds of homes.’
      • ‘I stood like that for a long time while water sluiced over me and formed rivulets around scar tissue, splashing and washing down the drain.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The cliffs are a reminder that a giant, lazy river sluiced through the prairie as it coursed west to the Pacific, a passage since blocked by the rise of the Andes.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Modern science has yet to explain how it is that a bathtub, which gets sluiced with soapy water just about every day, gets dirty.’
      • ‘As the hot, revitalising water began sluicing through her hair, gentle jazz piano wafted from the main dorm.’
      • ‘I scrubbed both my arms with soap, then continued down to my flat stomach as warm water sluiced over my body.’
      • ‘The Firth of Lorn is so full of warring tiderips sluicing through deep, slender channels between the swarming islands, it is seldom still.’
      pour, flow, run, gush, cascade, stream, course, spout, jet, spurt, flood, surge, spill, rush, well, spew, discharge
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Middle English (as a noun): from Old French escluse sluice gate, based on Latin excludere exclude. The verb dates from the late 16th century.