tunnel

noun
tun·​nel | \ ˈtə-nᵊl How to pronounce tunnel (audio) \

Definition of tunnel

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a covered passageway specifically : a horizontal passageway through or under an obstruction
b : a subterranean gallery (as in a mine)
c : burrow
2 : a hollow conduit or recess : tube, well

tunnel

verb
tunneled or tunnelled; tunneling or tunnelling\ ˈtən-​liŋ How to pronounce tunnelling (audio) , ˈtə-​nᵊl-​iŋ \

Definition of tunnel (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to make or use a tunnel
2 physics : to pass through a potential barrier electrons tunneling through an insulator between semiconductors

transitive verb

: to make a tunnel or similar opening through or under also : to make (one's way) by or as if by making a tunnel

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Other Words from tunnel

Noun

tunnellike \ ˈtə-​nᵊl-​ˌ(l)īk How to pronounce tunnellike (audio) \ adjective

Verb

tunneler \ ˈtən-​lər How to pronounce tunneler (audio) , ˈtə-​nᵊl-​ər \ noun

Examples of tunnel in a Sentence

Noun

The train goes through a tunnel in the mountain. The moles dug tunnels in the yard.

Verb

Workers are tunneling through the hill. Insects had tunneled into the tree.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Beckwitt would lead Khafra to his basement, where Khafra would work on digging the tunnels for days at a time, the document read. David Shortell And Amir Vera, CNN, "A millionaire was sentenced to 9 years in prison after a man died trying to build secret tunnels under his home," 17 June 2019 The fire erupted as Khafra was digging tunnels under Beckwitt’s Bethesda home, which was littered with piles of garbage. Michael Kunzelman, Fortune, "Wealthy Stock Trader Convicted of Murder Won't Get New Trial," 13 June 2019 Over the course of a century, miners have dug so many tunnels in the area that the city is literally sinking into the earth. Michael Hardy, WIRED, "This Swedish Mining Town Is Sinking—So It's Being Moved," 11 June 2019 These were men who worked underground, spending weeks or months digging tunnels with shovels underneath the walls of the castle. William Gurstelle, Popular Mechanics, "How to Storm a Castle," 11 Apr. 2019 Musk's Boring Company digs tunnels for advanced transport systems and has advanced ground-penetrating radar. Kaitlyn Schallhorn, Fox News, "Thai soccer team rescue might need to happen sooner than expected, experts warn," 2 Oct. 2018 The cost of digging the new tunnel and repairing the current one is estimated at $13 billion. Paul Berger, WSJ, "New Jersey’s Murphy Urges Trump to Fund Rail Link to New York," 4 Sep. 2018 And as part of his Boring Company venture, Musk is now talking about digging tunnels under LA and Chicago as a way to bypass traffic. Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge, "WARR Hyperloop pod hits 284 mph to win SpaceX competition," 23 July 2018 One of his enterprises is Boring Co., which digs tunnels for advanced transport systems and has advanced ground-penetrating radar. Tassanee Vejpongsa And Kaweewit Kaewjinda, chicagotribune.com, "Thai soccer coach apologizes in letter to parents as boys write they are 'doing fine'," 7 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

If not well defended, these junctions could allow operatives to tunnel under the moat and pop up inside the castle walls. Rebecca Smith And Rob Barry, WSJ, "America’s Electric Grid Has a Vulnerable Back Door—and Russia Walked Through It," 10 Jan. 2019 According to an announcement from NASA, the lander’s ground probe, which was designed to tunnel several feet into the ground, has hit some sort of obstacle and gotten stuck. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "NASA's New Underground Mars Probe Is Stuck," 6 Mar. 2019 Musk claims that his boring machines will tunnel faster than the industry's best machines. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "Elon Musk on double-decker freeways, permitting, and building sewers," 11 Nov. 2018 Like during the recovery of Glacier Girl, the team will use large heat plates to tunnel down to the aircraft, then send workers down clear out a cavern around the plan with blasts of hot water. Jay Bennett, Popular Mechanics, "WWII P-38 Discovered Under 300 Feet of Ice in Greenland," 27 July 2018 The Boring Company is built on the premise that tunneling technology has not been adequately developed. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "Elon Musk on double-decker freeways, permitting, and building sewers," 11 Nov. 2018 Three of the escapees who tunnelled out of Holzminden. Daniel Ford, WSJ, "‘The Escape Artists’ Review: Keep Calm and Keep Shoveling," 27 Sep. 2018 Both of the projects would tunnel beneath the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness, an area rich with wildlife including grizzly bears and wolverines. Matthew Brown, The Seattle Times, "US agency gives initial OK to Montana mine tied up in court," 28 Aug. 2018 But, really, the key is a massive improvement in tunneling technology. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Full Q&A: Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk on Recode Decode," 2 Nov. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tunnel.' 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 tunnel

Noun

1508, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Verb

1795, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for tunnel

Noun

Middle English tonel cask, tun, from Anglo-French, from tone tun

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Statistics for tunnel

Last Updated

20 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tunnel

The first known use of tunnel was in 1508

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More Definitions for tunnel

tunnel

noun

English Language Learners Definition of tunnel

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a passage that goes under the ground, through a hill, etc.

tunnel

verb

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

: to make a tunnel

tunnel

noun
tun·​nel | \ ˈtə-nᵊl How to pronounce tunnel (audio) \

Kids Definition of tunnel

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a passage under the ground

tunnel

verb
tunneled or tunnelled; tunneling or tunnelling

Kids Definition of tunnel (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make a passage under the ground

tunnel

noun
tun·​nel | \ ˈtən-ᵊl How to pronounce tunnel (audio) \

Medical Definition of tunnel

: a bodily channel — see carpal tunnel

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More from Merriam-Webster on tunnel

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tunnel

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tunnel

Spanish Central: Translation of tunnel

Nglish: Translation of tunnel for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tunnel for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about tunnel

Comments on tunnel

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