tunnel

noun
tun·​nel | \ˈtə-nᵊl \

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, 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 \ adjective

Verb

tunneler \ˈtən-​lər, 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

In August, The Boring Company was already moving away from the LA tunnel. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "The Boring Company won’t pursue LA tunnel under 405 freeway anymore," 28 Nov. 2018 Then on July 17, 2014, the Israeli military invaded Gaza, in part to close down tunnels that allowed Hamas to secretly enter Israel and attack the country. Alex Ward, Vox, "Israel and Gaza just saw their worst violence in years. It could get worse.," 14 Nov. 2018 During the day, the tunnels allowed typical cargo to be moved without getting wet. Condé Nast Traveler, "8 Most Haunted Cities In America and Why You Should Visit," 18 Oct. 2018 Much has already been written about the dark, tunnel-like transition between bar and dining room. Steven Stolman, Town & Country, "A Clear-Eyed Assessment of the New Four Seasons—By Someone Who Loved the Old One," 7 Sep. 2018 Developed by Elon Musk, the co-founder of electric car company Tesla and founder and lead designer for rocket-maker SpaceX, the system would require miles of above or below ground tunnels and stations where travelers could get on or off. Dug Begley, Houston Chronicle, "Hyperloop's first step bypasses Houston," 11 July 2018 The vehicle crashed into two other vehicles Friday night around 6:30 p.m. at the 12-mile marker of the bridge-tunnel's southbound lanes. Bradford Betz, Fox News, "Body found in truck that plunged off Chesapeake Bay Bridge; search continues," 29 July 2018 The crowd seemed to practice restraint during starting lineup announcements, saving the loudest cheer for when the coaches walked out of the tunnel. Danielle Lerner, The Courier-Journal, "James O'Connor is leaving LouCity but his legacy will last forever," 1 July 2018 Yet there appeared to be a light at the end of the tunnel after the program earned its first bowl appearance in six years in 2016. Matt Murschel, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Miami (Ohio) is No. 63 in 2018 preseason college football rankings," 25 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 The molecular vibrations of a scent molecule might provide the right jump down in energy that electrons need to tunnel from one part of an odor receptor to another. Tim Folger, Discover Magazine, "How Quantum Mechanics Lets Us See, Smell and Touch," 24 Oct. 2018 Since then, Musk has purchased a boring machine to tunnel under the Los Angeles neighborhood with the hope of making modifications to the machinery that will allow tunnels to be dug more quickly. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "Elon Musk tweets a date for the opening of his first Los Angeles tunnel," 22 Oct. 2018 Now he’s seeking regulators’ permissions to tunnel between Washington, DC, and New York, and throughout Los Angeles. Aarian Marshall, WIRED, "Elon Musk’s Boring Company Wins a Big Boring Contract in Chicago," 14 June 2018 The Boring Company promises to build tunnels faster and more cheaply than is currently the norm, partly by improving tunnelling machines, and partly by just making narrower tunnels. David Meyer, Fortune, "Elon Musk Offers Free Rides in His New Boring Tunnel," 11 May 2018 Musk’s tunneling startup Boring Co. could potentially make available its massive drills or excavation expertise, but such an approach could be too dangerous for this mission. Bloomberg, Fortune, "Elon Musk Is Sending Engineers to Thailand to Help Rescue the Boys Stuck in a Cave," 6 July 2018 Beckman said someone used an unknown tool to cut through an exterior wall and tunneled into the business. Hannah Fry, latimes.com, "Police search for man suspected of tunneling into Costa Mesa pharmacy and stealing drugs and cash," 25 June 2018 Elon Musk and Mayor Rahm Emanuel announce plans to tunnel with Musk's Boring Company for high-speed transit to O'Hare International Airport in the unfinished station under Block 37 on June 14, 2018. Mary Wisniewski, chicagotribune.com, "Elon Musk's plans for O'Hare express draw skepticism," 14 June 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

5 Dec 2018

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 \

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 \

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

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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