fun·​nel | \ ˈfə-nᵊl How to pronounce funnel (audio) \

Definition of funnel

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a utensil that is usually a hollow cone with a tube extending from the smaller end and that is designed to catch and direct a downward flow
b : something shaped like a funnel
2 : a stack or flue for the escape of smoke or for ventilation (as on a ship)


funneled also funnelled; funneling also funnelling

Definition of funnel (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to have or take the shape of a funnel
2 : to pass through or as if through a funnel or conduit the crowd funnels through the doors

transitive verb

1 : to form in the shape of a funnel funneled his hands and shouted through them
2 : to move to a focal point or into a conduit or central channel contributions were funneled into one account

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Synonyms for funnel

Synonyms: Verb

canalize, channel, channelize, conduct, direct, pipe, siphon (also syphon)

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Examples of funnel in a Sentence


the funnel cloud of a tornado


Winds funneled through the canyon. Smoke funneled up the chimney. The crowd funneled through the doors. He funneled the gas into the tank. They funneled money into the campaign. The information was being secretly funneled to the head of the organization.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The coaster will stretch around Carnival’s iconic red funnel, offering riders 360-degree views of the water 187 feet above sea level. Rachel Desantis,, "Carnival Cruise Line's New Ship Will Feature the World's First Roller Coaster at Sea," 19 June 2019 The tool comes in three parts: a funnel, base, and top that stack on top of each other. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "High-design coffee maker looks like a ceramic pot," 12 June 2019 For a simplified picture of this eternal growth, imagine a black hole as a funnel extending downward from a two-dimensional sheet representing the fabric of space-time. Quanta Magazine, "Why Black Hole Interiors Grow (Almost) Forever," 6 Dec. 2018 That created funnels from high-achieving elementary schools to sought-after middle schools. Leslie Brody, WSJ, "Rise in Requests for Different School Seats After Brooklyn District’s New Admission Lottery," 22 June 2019 Emerging speech recognition technology could narrow the language funnel even further. Caitlin Hu, Quartz, "Iceland is inventing a new vocabulary for a high-tech future," 2 June 2019 Like multi-national firms, Patanjali needs to develop a strong innovation funnel. Sangeeta Tanwar, Quartz India, "Ramdev’s Patanjali must move past pricing to win India’s consumer goods war," 3 June 2019 Another way to think of it is like a marble in a funnel. Ryan D'agostino, Popular Mechanics, "Elon Musk: The Popular Mechanics Interview," 25 Feb. 2019 His mug shows a unicorn farting into an intake funnel for a car. Glenn Fleishman, Fortune, "Farting Unicorn Artist Says Elon Musk Stinks," 28 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Fees only will be charged to businesses who want to use it on commercial products, and any proceeds will be funneled to the city and county in the form of grants, McNair said., "Mardi Gras flag wins Mobile County Commission approval," 8 July 2019 In the indictment filed by prosecutors, Loughlin, Giannulli and other parents are accused of making payments that were funneled through a nonprofit foundation run by Singer. Martha Ross, The Mercury News, "Possible defense revealed for Lori Loughlin, Bay Area parents in college scandal: They were paying charity, not bribes," 4 June 2019 The cash was then funneled through U.S. companies, including American Charter Services LLC and SVMI Solution LLC, and used to pay for travel to private meetings around the world, prosecutors said. Kristin Broughton, WSJ, "Former Venezuelan Vice President Charged With Violating Sanctions," 8 Mar. 2019 There's not a lot of places the character can go when they're funneled into just being the trans character. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Nicole Maines Is the Superhero Television Needs Right Now," 17 Oct. 2018 Manafort is accused of having roughly $18 million, generated from his Ukrainian lobbying work, in offshore accounts that was then funneled into a web of shell companies. Jeff Andrews, Curbed, "Why financial criminals use real estate to launder money," 10 Aug. 2018 Now, the newly single Hadid is funneling that same energy toward celebrating her girlfriends Cara Delevingne and Adwoa Aboah. Maria Ward, Vogue, "Is the Photo-Print T-Shirt the New Friendship Bracelet? Gigi Hadid Makes the Case," 29 Mar. 2018 Indivisible, a group that has emerged as possibly the most influential and well-organized organization trying to funnel anti-Trump energy into organized, grassroots action has 50 percent female leadership. Jill Filipovic, Cosmopolitan, "Young Women Are Finally Proving the Term "Women's Issues" Is Bullsh*t," 8 Mar. 2018 Singer, who has pleaded guilty to four felonies, then funneled $50,000 to a soccer club operated by former USC women's soccer coach Ali Khosroshahin and former USC women's soccer assistant coach Laura Janke to engineer the recruitment conspiracy. Joey Garrison, USA TODAY, "California insurance exec guilty of paying $450,000 to get kids admission to USC as fake recruits," 21 June 2019

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

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First Known Use of funnel


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1594, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for funnel


Middle English fonel, from Anglo-French fonyle, from Old Occitan fonilh, from Medieval Latin fundibulum, short for Latin infundibulum, from infundere to pour in, from in- + fundere to pour — more at found

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Statistics for funnel

Last Updated

12 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for funnel

The first known use of funnel was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for funnel



English Language Learners Definition of funnel

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a device shaped like a hollow cone with a tube extending from the point
: something that is shaped like a funnel
: a large pipe on a ship through which smoke or steam comes out



English Language Learners Definition of funnel (Entry 2 of 2)

: to pass through a funnel or a narrow opening
: to send (something, such as money) to someone or something in usually an indirect or secret way


fun·​nel | \ ˈfə-nᵊl How to pronounce funnel (audio) \

Kids Definition of funnel

1 : a utensil usually shaped like a hollow cone with a tube extending from the point and used to catch and direct a downward flow
2 : a large pipe for the escape of smoke or for ventilation (as on a ship)


fun·​nel | \ ˈfən-ᵊl How to pronounce funnel (audio) \

Medical Definition of funnel

: a utensil that is usually a hollow cone with a tube extending from the smaller end and that is designed to catch and direct a downward flow — see büchner funnel

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More from Merriam-Webster on funnel

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with funnel

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for funnel

Spanish Central: Translation of funnel

Nglish: Translation of funnel for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of funnel for Arabic Speakers

Comments on funnel

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to complain fretfully

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