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

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Examples of funnel in a Sentence

Noun the funnel cloud of a tornado Verb 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 For those who’ve been craving classic carnival food like corn dogs and funnel cakes, JBW Vending will also be in attendance. Dallas News, "Frisco restaurants and more bounce back with StrEATS food truck festival," 29 Apr. 2021 Trend or not, Betsis appears to have thought of it all for this explorer—except maybe the carnival games and funnel cakes. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, "This Epic New 331-Foot Explorer Yacht Comes With 18 Vehicles to Let You Play on Land, Sea and Air," 15 Apr. 2021 In middle school, wielding season passes, my friends and I spent nearly every day in the park, floating around the lazy river until the sun dipped low, scarfing funnel cakes and playing endless rounds of Skee-Ball. New York Times, "Can This Amusement Park Be Saved?," 9 Apr. 2021 Prizes include free funnel cakes, shaved ice, T-shirts, park tickets and a 2021 season pass. Patrick Connolly,, "Easter weekend in Orlando: Egg hunts and family-friendly events," 31 Mar. 2021 Disney Week is nearly identical to New York Fashion Week—just replace the Dom Pérignon with funnel cakes, and the Jenners with two hundred thousand Midwestern families in jorts. Cara Michelle Smith, The New Yorker, "Ivanka Loves Florida!," 29 Mar. 2021 The first duck to cross the finish line after navigating a special funnel will win $1,000. Joan Rusek, cleveland, "Get back to your roots on Earth Day with native plants: Valley Views," 12 Apr. 2021 Up north, Florida panhandle residents reported Saturday evening seeing a funnel spiraling onto the shores of Panama Beach suggesting evidence for a possible tornado. Joe Mario Pedersen,, "Watch video: Hail bombards Central Florida; possible tornado sightings around state," 12 Apr. 2021 Don't rely on prefabricated and costly funnel building software. Yec, Forbes, "How To Build A Marketing Funnel In Three Steps," 12 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The charges involved alleged attempts by the two men to funnel foreign contributions into US elections. Chris Cillizza, CNN, "5 key things to remember about Rudy Giuliani and Ukraine," 28 Apr. 2021 Enriquez said the shooting is just further reason to abolish the police department and funnel its resources into social services. Christine Fernando, USA TODAY, "'Difficult to watch': Chicago to release body-camera video showing fatal police shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo," 15 Apr. 2021 The push for more education money With the unexpected influx of new money, the pressure is mounting on lawmakers to funnel more dollars into the state’s public education system. Kaitlin Lange, The Indianapolis Star, "Lawmakers have $2 billion more to spend in state budget after revenue forecast," 15 Apr. 2021 Some unfurl to funnel plankton into their mouths while others trap prey against the ocean floor, and even act as a shovel. Melissa Cristina Márquez, Forbes, "The Devil And Its Horns: Decoding How Mantas Communicate," 1 Mar. 2021 Likewise, conservative politicians hoping to funnel limited public dollars into highway expansions, often to accommodate far-flung housing developments, will likely be spinning their wheels for the foreseeable future. Joshua Emerson Smith, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Election shake-up in San Diego bodes well for envisioned $177 billion rail expansion," 12 Dec. 2020 More than 1 in 4 plan to directly contract with primary care practices, another technique to funnel business to select providers. Dallas News, "Another pandemic effect: more virtual care, more mental health help and higher costs for 2021 health plans," 27 Sep. 2020 Plankton nets draw the animals into a large open ring and funnel them into a jarlike device called a cod end. New York Times, "The Ocean’s Youngest Monsters Are Ready for Glamour Shots," 30 Mar. 2021 Turner has gone so far as to encourage McConnell and the team’s other guards to funnel players in his direction. Scott Cacciola, New York Times, "Myles Turner Will Block Your Shot. If T.J. McConnell Doesn’t Pick Your Pocket First.," 23 Mar. 2021

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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Time Traveler for funnel

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for funnel

Last Updated

3 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Funnel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 May. 2021.

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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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