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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The smaller-scale Loop appears to have grown out of the Hyperloop, Musk's plan for a 600 mph train in a tunnel for intercity transportation, which has yet to come to fruition. Matt Mcfarland, CNN, "Here's what 'stations' for Elon Musk's The Boring Company look like," 16 Nov. 2020 Rick Snyder, a Republican, in 2018 to replace the underwater segment with a new pipe that would be housed in a tunnel to be drilled through bedrock beneath the Straits of Mackinac. John Flesher, chicagotribune.com, "Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer seeks to shut down Great Lakes oil pipeline," 13 Nov. 2020 Rick Snyder, a Republican, in 2018 to replace the underwater segment with a new pipe that would be housed in a tunnel to be drilled through bedrock beneath the Straits of Mackinac. Fox News, "Michigan governor seeks shutdown of Great Lakes oil pipeline," 13 Nov. 2020 During the raid, Baghdadi ran into a dead-end tunnel with three children and killed himself by detonating a suicide vest. Zachary Halaschak, Washington Examiner, "Trump awards citation to military unit responsible for raid that killed ISIS leader al Baghdadi," 30 Oct. 2020 Electrons are stored in 34 kWh worth of lithium-ion batteries, in boxy packs shoehorned into the central tunnel and between the rear shock towers. Dan Neil, WSJ, "Polestar 1: The World’s Most Beautiful Hybrid Car Has Arrived," 15 Oct. 2020 During his tenure as Dallas coach, Garrett would complete a game, address his players from the center of the locker room, then assume a podium in the tunnel adjacent to the locker room. Jori Epstein, USA TODAY, "Former Dallas coach Jason Garrett ready for first showdown with Mike McCarthy's Cowboys," 9 Oct. 2020 For the first three games of the season, New Orleans Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins has elected to stay in the tunnel while the national anthem is being played. Amie Just | Staff Writer, NOLA.com, "Why Saints' Malcolm Jenkins stays in the tunnel for the national anthem," 30 Sep. 2020 Those hundreds of acres come to life and what was once pure competition turns into a full-fledged party, transforming the straightaway into a shrinking tunnel. Nathan Brown, The Indianapolis Star, "Why fans are vital to the Indy 500: 'A 500 without fans is a 500 I don't wanna race'," 13 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Physicists quickly saw that particles’ ability to tunnel through barriers solved many mysteries. Quanta Magazine, "Quantum Tunnels Show How Particles Can Break the Speed of Light," 20 Oct. 2020 As his vision began to tunnel and his limbs lost sensation, a tugboat passed. Anna Wiener, The New Yorker, "Taking Back Our Privacy," 19 Oct. 2020 Go through the barriers, tunnel underneath the barriers, go around the barriers, go up over top. Adam Harris, The Atlantic, "The Limits of Desegregation in Washington, D.C.," 29 Sep. 2020 As the larvae continue to tunnel and feed, more pitch will bleed from the tree, like what is occurring with your tree. Tim Johnson, chicagotribune.com, "Pines oozing sap and browning are likely signs of Zimmerman pine moth infestation. Here’s how to treat it.," 22 Aug. 2020 Eventually, the larvae become adult insects and tunnel out of the gall. Beth Botts, chicagotribune.com, "If pests have the ‘gall’ to cause these warty bulges on your trees or bushes, there’s not much you can do," 15 Aug. 2020 Yet over long time periods, quantum mechanics allows particles to tunnel through energetic barriers, meaning fusion can still occur, albeit at extremely low rates. Adam Mann, Science | AAAS, "This is the way the universe ends: not with a whimper, but a bang," 11 Aug. 2020 Subway is an obstacle that guests can tunnel through or climb over. Charles Infosino, Cincinnati.com, "So, what's Coney Island gonna be like with no rides?," 12 June 2020 The builders want to tunnel through a mountain some 700 feet below the level of the trail, which runs along the ridgetop and intertwines with the Blue Ridge Parkway. Robert Barnes, BostonGlobe.com, "US Supreme Court to decide winner in case of gas pipeline vs. Appalachian Trail," 23 Feb. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about tunnel

Time Traveler for tunnel

Time Traveler

The first known use of tunnel was in 1508

See more words from the same year

Statistics for tunnel

Last Updated

26 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Tunnel.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tunnel. Accessed 4 Dec. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for tunnel

tunnel

noun
How to pronounce tunnel (audio)

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on tunnel

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

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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