AskDefine | Define sluice

Dictionary Definition

sluice n : conduit that carries a rapid flow of water controlled by a sluicegate [syn: sluiceway, penstock]


1 pour as if from a sluice; "An aggressive tide sluiced across the barrier reef" [syn: sluice down]
2 irrigate with water from a sluice; "sluice the earth" [syn: flush]
3 transport in or send down a sluice; "sluice logs"
4 draw through a sluice; "sluice water"

User Contributed Dictionary



escluse, écluse, exclusa, sclusa, from excludere, exclusum, to shut out: confer sluis sluice, from the Old French. See exclude.



  1. An artifical passage for water, fitted with a valve or gate, as in a mill stream, for stopping or regulating the flow; also, a water gate of flood gate.
  2. Hence, an opening or channel through which anything flows; a source of supply.
    Each sluice of affluent fortune opened soon. -Harte.
    This home familiarity . . . opens the sluices of sensibility. -I. Taylor.
  3. The stream flowing through a flood gate.
  4. A long box or trough through which water flows, -- used for washing auriferous earth.


See also


  1. To emit by, or as by, flood gates. [R.] Milton.
  2. To wet copiously, as by opening a sluice; as, to sluice meadows. Howitt.
    He dried his neck and face, which he had been sluicing with cold water. -De Quincey.
  3. To wash with, or in, a stream of water running through a sluice; as, to sluice earth or gold dust in mining.


Extensive Definition

The terms "sluice gate" and "slide gate" are used interchangeably in the water/wastewater control industry.
A sluice is a water channel that is controlled at its head by a gate. For example, a millrace is a sluice that channels water toward a water mill.
A sluice gate is traditionally a wooden or metal plate which slides in grooves in the sides of the channel. Sluice gates are commonly used to control water levels and flow rates in rivers and canals. They are also used in wastewater treatment plants and to recover minerals in mining operations.
A sluice/slide gate is a double-faced valve consisting of an open frame and a slide. Examples of where this type of valve is used include controlling flow (water and wastewater) at openings in tank walls and at ends of pipes. The term "slide gate" has been adopted for use by series of standards (C561, American Water Works Association) C561 is the standard for Fabricated Stainless Steel Slide (Sluice) Gates. This standard was approved in January of 2004.
This standard describes fabricated stainless steel sluice/slide gates with full aperture closure, designed for either seating or unseating head, or both, in ordinary water supply service. The stainless steel gates have non-metallic seat/seals, which may be of self-adjusting design. Some sluice gate manufacturers use ultra high molecular weight(UHMW) polyethelene seat/seals, to allow ease of movement and eliminate friction.


Raising a sluice gate allows water to flow under it. (The term sluice gate refers to any gate that operates by allowing water to flow under it.) When a sluice gate is fully lowered, water sometimes spills over the top, in which case the gate operates as a weir.
Usually a mechanism drives the sluice gate up or down. This may be a simple, hand-operated, worm drive or rack and pinion drive, or it may be electrically or hydraulically powered.

Types of sluice gates

; Vertical rising sluice gate : A plate sliding in the vertical direction, controlled by machinery.; Rising sector sluice gate : Also a part of a cylindrical surface, which rests at the bottom of the channel and rises by rotating around its centre.The gates of a Guillotine lock work in a way similar to a sluice gate, but most canal lock gates are hinged to swing like doors.

Regional names for sluice gates

In the Somerset Levels, sluice gates are known as clyse or clyce. Most of the inhabitants of Guyana refer to sluices as kokers.

Logging Sluices

In the mountains of New England, sluices were used to transport logs from steep hillsides to downslope sawmill ponds or yarding areas. 19th century logging was traditionally a winter activity for men who spent summers working on farms. Water was applied to logging sluices every night so a fresh coating of slippery ice would reduce friction of logs placed in the sluice the following morning.

Placer Mining applications

Sluiceboxes are often used in the recovery of black sands, gold, and other minerals from placer deposits during placer mining operations. They may be small-scale, as used in prospecting, or much larger as in commercial operations, where the material is first screened using a trommel or screening plant. Typically, the sluices have transverse riffles over a carpet which trap the heavy minerals, gemstones, and other valuable minerals. The result is a concentrate.


Further reading

  • The Maine Scenic Route
  • The Maine Two-Footers
  • Ride the Sandy River
  • Two Feet Between the Rails (Volume 1 - The Early Years)

See also

sluice in Czech: Stavidlo
sluice in French: Sluice
sluice in Dutch: Sluis (kunstwerk)
sluice in Japanese: 水門
sluice in Swedish: Sluss

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

aboideau, air lock, aqueduct, arroyo, avenue, baptize, bath, bathe, bed, blow out, blowhole, canal, channel, chute, cloaca, cloaca maxima, creek bed, culvert, debouch, deluge, dip, dock gate, donga, door, douche, douse, drain, drain out, drench, drown, dry bed, duck, dunk, egress, empty, emunctory, escape, estuary, exhaust, exit, find vent, float, flood, flood-hatch, floodgate, flow, flow on, flow out, flume, flush, flush out, gargle, gate, gulch, gully, gullyhole, gush, gush out, gutter, head gate, headchute, headrace, holystone, inundate, irrigate, irrigation ditch, jet, kennel, lather, launder, lave, lock, lock gate, loophole, mop, mop up, nullah, opening, out, outcome, outfall, outflow, outgate, outgo, outlet, outpour, penstock, piscina, pore, port, pour, pour on, pour out, race, rain, rinse, rinse out, ritually immerse, river bed, riverway, roll, run out, runnel, sally port, scour, scrub, scrub up, scupper, sewer, shampoo, shower, sink, sluice gate, sluice out, soak, soap, sough, spew out, spillbox, spillway, spiracle, sponge, spout, spout out, spurt, stream, stream bed, streamway, submerge, sump, surge, swab, swamp, swash, swash channel, syringe, tailrace, tap, tide gate, toivel, tub, vent, ventage, venthole, vomit forth, vomitory, wadi, wash, wash out, wash up, water carrier, water channel, water furrow, water gap, water gate, watercourse, waterway, waterworks, way out, weir, well, well out, whelm
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