From Middle English sluse, alteration of scluse, from Anglo-Norman escluse (“sluice, floodgate”), from Late Latin exclusa (“extrusion, gate”), from Latin exclūsus, form of exclūdō (“I shut out, I exclude”) (English exclude). Cognate to Dutch sluis.
sluice (plural sluices)
- An artificial passage for water, fitted with a valve or gate, for example in a canal lock or a mill stream, for stopping or regulating the flow.
- A water gate or floodgate.
- Hence, an opening or channel through which anything flows; a source of supply.
- 1767, Walter Harte, Eulogius: Or, The Charitable Mason:
- Each sluice of affluent fortune open'd soon.
- The stream flowing through a floodgate.
- (mining) A long box or trough through which water flows, used for washing auriferous earth.
- (linguistics) An instance of wh-stranding ellipsis, or sluicing.
- (transitive, rare) To emit by, or as by, flood gates.
- 1667, John Milton, “Book I”, in Paradise Lost. […], London: […] [Samuel Simmons], […], →OCLC; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: […], London: Basil Montagu Pickering […], 1873, →OCLC, lines 700–704:
- Nigh on the plain, in many cells prepared, / That underneath had veins of liquid fire / Sluiced from the lake, a second multitude / With wondrous art founded the massy ore, / Severing each kind, and scummed the bullion-dross.
- (transitive) To wet copiously, as by opening a sluice
- 1855, William Howitt, Land, Labour and Gold; or, Two Years in Victoria:
- Nine - mile Creek has been dug out again and again , and has been sluiced three times
- 2000, Laurel E. Fay, chapter 7, in Shostakovich: A Life, Oxford University Press, page 120:
- Many years later, in 1953, Shostakovich summarized his dissatisfactions with the competition more bluntly: "Rimsky-Korsakov groomed, waved, and sluiced Musorgsky with eau de cologne. My orchestration is crude, in keeping with Musorgsky."
- (transitive) To wash with, or in, a stream of water running through a sluice.
- (transitive, more generally) To wash (down or out).
- 1595 December 9 (first known performance), William Shakespeare, “The life and death of King Richard the Second”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act I, scene 1]:
- […] he did plot the Duke of Gloucester's death, / Suggest his soon-believing adversaries, / And consequently, like a traitor coward, / Sluiced out his innocent soul through streams of blood
- (intransitive) To flow, pour.
- 1980, Peter De Vries, chapter 12, in Consenting Adults, or The Duchess Will Be Furious, Penguin, pages 185–6:
- these are often my thoughts as my partner or my vis-a-vis spoons a berry into her mouth and I imagine it—see and hear it being chewed, the red juice running from its bursting pulp over her tongue, mingling with her saliva, slipping through the crevices between her teeth before sluicing down her throat and into her bloodstream.
- (linguistics) To elide the complement in a coordinated wh-question. See sluicing.
- (washing in mining): pan
- For quotations using this term, see Citations:sluice.
- “sluice”, in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, Springfield, Mass.: G. & C. Merriam, 1913, →OCLC.