fu·​nic·​u·​lar | \ fyu̇-ˈni-kyə-lər How to pronounce funicular (audio) , fə- \

Definition of funicular

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : having the form of or associated with a cord usually under tension
2 [New Latin funiculus] : of, relating to, or being a funiculus
3 : of, relating to, or being a funicular a funicular system



Definition of funicular (Entry 2 of 2)

: a cable railway ascending a mountain especially : one in which an ascending car counterbalances a descending car

Did you know?


You may have fun on a funicular, but the word is not related to "fun" (which comes to us from an English dialect verb meaning "to hoax"). The noun "funicular" descends from an earlier adjective funicular, meaning "relating to a cord under tension." It was also influenced by "funiculaire," a French word used for a type of railway that is dependent upon cables (or on "cords under tension"). Ultimately, these terms trace back to the Latin noun funiculus, meaning "small rope." "Funicular" first appeared in print as an adjective in English in 1664; the noun has been with us since the early 20th century.

Examples of funicular in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Combined, the homes total more than 16,232 square feet and are accessible through a glass funicular. Annie Vainshtein, San Francisco Chronicle, 28 May 2022 The Jenkins property includes a funicular leading down to the ocean that was built by former owner Kenny Rogers, who was slapped with a $2 million fine by local authorities for installing it. Katherine Clarke, WSJ, 16 May 2022 Now the funicular is back open, consider walking up the hairpin road that trails behind the lower station instead. David Nikel, Forbes, 25 Apr. 2022 Then stroll 10 minutes south to board the funicular to the top of Mount San Salvatore around sunset to watch the whole place bask in the golden hour. Hotel Splendide Royal Lugano, in the Italian-speaking region of Switzerland. Ryan Haase, WSJ, 21 Apr. 2022 Spanning 22 stories, the bubble-like world of glass would include four levels of gardens and a funicular tram to a rooftop restaurant. Jack Flemming, Los Angeles Times, 18 Sep. 2021 Kyiv’s century-old funicular shuttles people between the lower part of town and St. Michael’s Cathedral. James Marson, WSJ, 10 Feb. 2022 At the enormous Petrin Gardens, visitors will find dozens of trails, a funicular, and a viewing deck atop the cast-iron Petrin Tower. Lilly Graves, Travel + Leisure, 22 Sep. 2021 The palatial grande dame of the French Riviera, now a Four Seasons property, sits atop a Mediterranean-facing cliff — a funicular transports guests down to the pool, beach club, and Club Dauphin restaurant, one of three on the property. Stefanie Waldek, Travel + Leisure, 31 Dec. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Reachable by a private funicular, the resort home is guarded by a gate and the 24-hour security of Costa Careyes. Spencer Elliott, Forbes, 16 June 2022 The property is tucked into 22,000 acres of lush jungle, with in-room bathtubs and showers that offer treetop (and howler monkey) views, not to mention a funicular to take you down to explore the Rio Grande. Stephanie Vermillion, Travel + Leisure, 14 Dec. 2021 The red metal cars made their debut in 1989, the 100th anniversary of the original funicular. Lilit Marcus, CNN, 20 Dec. 2021 Take the funicular to the tiny village of Brunate for an amazing panorama. Anne Olivia Bauso, Travel + Leisure, 8 Dec. 2021 In June 1903, buoyed by his Angels Flight’s popularity, Col. Eddy proposed a funicular to Mt. Hollywood in Griffith Park, round trip 50 cents. Los Angeles Times, 18 May 2021 Rogers added a funicular from the cliff the house sits on down to the ocean—a home improvement that brought with it a $2 million fine from city officials. Chris Morris, Fortune, 18 Feb. 2021 This sense of cosmic vastness shadowed me across the rolling farms of the Maya lowlands to La Lancha, where cheery wooden casitas hung with traditional textiles sit on a hillside so steep there's a funicular to get guests to Lake Petén Itzá below. Julien Capmeil, Condé Nast Traveler, 30 Mar. 2020 Everything, from the guests in the chalet, right through to every scrap of food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, has to come up in the funicular. David Canfield,, 16 Apr. 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'funicular.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of funicular


1823, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1888, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for funicular


Latin funiculus

Learn More About funicular

Time Traveler for funicular

Time Traveler

The first known use of funicular was in 1823

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast About funicular

Dictionary Entries Near funicular

fun house


funicular polygon

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for funicular

Last Updated

2 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Funicular.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Jun. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for funicular


fu·​nic·​u·​lar | \ fyu̇-ˈnik-yə-lər, fə- How to pronounce funicular (audio) \

Medical Definition of funicular

: of, relating to, or being a funiculus

More from Merriam-Webster on funicular

Britannica English: Translation of funicular for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Named After People

  • name tags
  • Namesake of the leotard, Jules Léotard had what profession?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!