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 tunnel (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

Other Words from tunnel

Noun

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

Verb

tunneler \ ˈtən-​lər How to pronounce tunnel (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 So how does the Taihu tunnel stack up against its global counterparts? CNN, 4 Jan. 2022 At one point, the man exits the tunnel and waves for more of the crowd to join the protesters in attempting to breach the building. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, 4 Jan. 2022 Brown then threw his undershirt into the MetLife Stadium crowd and did jumping jacks before signaling to the fans in the end zone on his walk to the tunnel. Chris Bumbaca, USA TODAY, 3 Jan. 2022 And pedestrian safety managers — a service provided by a local business district that was halted in March 2020 — were brought back to help people navigate a busy street near the tunnel. New York Times, 28 Dec. 2021 Interim coach Greg Knox did not offer an update on Shorter, who was responsive as he was driven into the southeast tunnel. Edgar Thompson, orlandosentinel.com, 24 Dec. 2021 He was supposed to get double that amount from Iran, which controls 70% of the dam’s 7,000-square-mile catchment area and which recently activated a 29-mile diversionary tunnel siphoning away most of the Sirwan River. Marcus Yam, Los Angeles Times, 23 Dec. 2021 A few years ago, before the Steelers ran onto the field up in Pittsburgh, Tomlin came down through the tunnel shadow boxing. Mike Preston, baltimoresun.com, 23 Dec. 2021 Her carpal-tunnel-inducing artifact drawings can take three months each to complete, even with a team of four assistants to help with drawing and research. Max Pearl, Vulture, 21 Dec. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The damaging diners include deer, squirrels, chipmunks and voles — mouse-sized animals that can tunnel through snow and mulch. Beth Botts, chicagotribune.com, 24 Oct. 2021 Her two dozen or so books and innumerable essays, published throughout a career now in its fourth decade, tunnel variously into history, science, cultural criticism, politics, and the interiors of her own life. Helen Rosner, The New Yorker, 5 Nov. 2021 In many ways, Magic fans must feel a lot like Dufresne — the prisoner who took 17 years to tunnel his way to freedom. Mike Bianchi, orlandosentinel.com, 23 Oct. 2021 The conversations are digressive and wry, loaded with references to the Kinsey Scale, Lady Gaga, and byzantine bits that tunnel toward increasingly absurd assertions. Alex Mcelroy, Vulture, 5 Oct. 2021 That plan would essentially tunnel the freeway and provide economic opportunity for the region’s Black community in an effort to reclaim the Albina district. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 13 Sep. 2021 The bear escaped his enclosure and managed to tunnel under an electric fence at Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care in South Lake Tahoe, the center said in a statement on Tuesday. BostonGlobe.com, 3 Aug. 2021 And firefighters also used a garage beneath the building to tunnel in from below. Shannon Rae Green, USA TODAY, 25 June 2021 To tunnel under walkways, attach a pointed sluice nozzle to a length of PVC pipe. Merle Henkenius, Popular Mechanics, 25 June 2021

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

Learn More About tunnel

Dictionary Entries Near tunnel

tunned

tunnel

tunnel diode

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for tunnel

Last Updated

7 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Tunnel.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tunnel. Accessed 17 Jan. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

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

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

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!