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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for funnel

Synonyms: Verb

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

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Then spoon the sand into the paper funnel, filling the water bottle all the way up with dry sand. Svenja Lohner, Scientific American, "Make Water Disappear--With the Wet-Sand Effect," 25 July 2019 This graphic explains the differences between landspouts and cold air funnels. Chris Bianchi, The Denver Post, "Rare funnel cloud spotted near Rocky Mountain National Park," 25 July 2019 Two big chocolate chip cookies filled with vanilla ice cream and deep fried in funnel cake batter. Topped with powdered sugar and chocolate sauce. Chris Sims, Indianapolis Star, "Here's everything you need to know about the 2019 Indiana State Fair," 15 July 2019 In essence, the immediate Denver area becomes a funnel for converging winds, leading to some of Denver’s hyper-local and crazy weather — that often can be difficult to predict. Chris Bianchi, The Denver Post, "What parts of Colorado see the most lightning?," 22 July 2019 To urinate, astronauts pee in a vacuum funnel in a high-tech porta potty. Daniel Oberhaus, WIRED, "Here’s What a $52 Million Ticket to the ISS Will Get You," 11 June 2019 Allen and colleagues collected microplastics over a period of five months at a meteorological station about 4,500 feet (1,400 meters) above sea level using atmospheric deposition catchers that look like tall funnels. Stephen Leahy, National Geographic, "Microplastics are raining down from the sky," 15 Apr. 2019 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The cash was funnelled through shell companies around the world and frittered away on yachts, artworks, diamonds and other fripperies. The Economist, "Malaysia charges 17 Goldman Sachs executives," 15 Aug. 2019 The state budget boosts aid to UMass by $39 million over last year, with most of that increase being funneled into labor costs associated with collective bargaining agreements. Michael P. Norton,, "UMass tuition likely to increase 2.5%, president says," 25 July 2019 Proceeds would be funneled right back into the Pendleton neighborhood. Andrea Reeves,, "How this neighborhood tricycle-racing party continues to grow up without growing up," 23 July 2019 The payment to McDougal was funneled through Trump-friendly AMI. Fortune, "Records Detail Frenetic Effort to Bury Stories About Trump," 18 July 2019 When the land west of the Mississippi River was opened to white settlement by the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux in 1851, the hordes of pioneers who flocked to the Dakotas and western Minnesota were funneled through St. Paul. Nick Woltman, Twin Cities, "St. Paul owes its existence to the Mississippi River," 22 June 2019 As part of the cease-fire agreement, revenue from the ports of Hodeidah, Salif and Ras Issa will be funneled to the Central Bank, which the government moved from the capital, San’a, to the southern city of Aden in 2016. Dion Nissenbaum, WSJ, "Yemen Foes Agree on Cease-Fire Amid U.S. Pressure," 13 Dec. 2018 If barley becomes too scarce, more of it will be funneled to livestock, since beer is technically a luxury good. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Barley shortages from climate change could mean less beer worldwide," 15 Oct. 2018 That information will then be funneled into a global database for use by scientists. Alex Stuckey, Houston Chronicle, "NASA is building models to predict mosquito-borne illnesses and you can help them do it," 3 July 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about funnel

Statistics for funnel

Last Updated

9 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for funnel

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


a haphazard or makeshift solution

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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