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

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 Additional funnels were reported as the storm moved east of Des Moines past Altoona, Prairie City and Colfax. Samuel Chamberlain, Fox News, "Injuries reported after tornado slams Iowa factory," 19 July 2018 The SheWee funnel and extender tube, like the Freshette’s, can be disassembled and stored. Anna Callaghan, Outside Online, "Our Favorite Pee Funnels," 6 June 2018 More successful was a s’mores variant that looked like French fries and gravy — addictive fried strips of funnel cake bathed in a deep chocolate sauce, backed up by thick slabs of marshmallow. Tim Smith,, "A dessert disguised as a potted plant, and more surprises at Blair's on Hudson," 30 May 2018 At the time, Soviet prison guards restrained hunger strikers in a chair and used a funnel and tube to administer a mix of meat bouillon, boiled grains and raw egg, Mr. Grigoryants said. Andrew E. Kramer, New York Times, "Hunger Strike Creates Unwanted Backdrop for Russia During World Cup," 16 June 2018 At the center is a steely rendering of a funnel with bees spilling over the edge. Victoria Dalkey, sacbee, "Jack Alvarez explores his cultural roots in poetic images," 22 June 2018 In a common design, one end of a jar-like glass vessel was shaped like a funnel leading inside to a main chamber. C.j. Chivers, Popular Mechanics, "Meet the Man Glassblowing These Gorgeous Retro Fishing Lures," 26 Apr. 2016

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The network’s vetting process serves to funnel committed extremists from around the internet into a group explicitly focused on providing users with terroristic skills, in order to produce real-world violence. Casey Newton, The Verge, "22 predictions for social media in 2019," 15 Dec. 2018 In April 2016, one of the Baltic states shared with then–CIA director John Brennan an audio recording of Russians discussing funneling money to the Trump campaign. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Will Trump Be Meeting With His Counterpart — Or His Handler?," 8 July 2018 The defunct program allowed cities to funnel local property taxes into blighted areas. Tony Bizjak And Ryan Lillis, sacbee, "Sacramento approved 5,500 housing units. Less than 100 were for low-income residents," 5 July 2018 The investment funds, which have raised billions of dollars to funnel into promising cases, have become a rich source of cash for lawyers to acquire cases, buy advertising, recruit clients and underwrite litigation expenses. L.m. Sixel, San Antonio Express-News, "Private equity funds deploy new investment strategy: financing lawsuits," 29 May 2018 Press reports say that Mueller is interested in whether Dmitriev funneled Russian money into the Trump campaign, but something else about this meeting caught my attention. Elizabeth Drew, The New Republic, "Donald Trump Is a Walking Maelstrom," 8 Mar. 2018 Hamed funneled the funds collected in the U.S. through a Jordanian man, who sent them along to Iraq or used them to purchase goods that would then be sent into the country, the DOJ said. Max Londberg, kansascity, "Man tied to Missouri terrorist group should lose citizenship, DOJ says. | The Kansas City Star," 7 Feb. 2018 The belts drop sand into a chute at the top of the machine, which then funnels down through 12 metal pipes — the spider legs — arranged in a circle. Dave Kolpack, The Seattle Times, "As flood looms, North Dakota’s largest city back to bagging," 29 Mar. 2019 The organization’s independent expenditure committee funneled more than $37 million in the 2018 election cycle alone. Rebecca Gale, Marie Claire, "Elise Stefanik Is Going to Bring Women Back to the GOP," 25 Mar. 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

17 May 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

What made you want to look up funnel? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


one that collects or salvages junk

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