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

In recent years, Hamas has built a sophisticated network of tunnels. Fares Akram, The Seattle Times, "Hamas has developed a vast arsenal in blockaded Gaza," 25 Mar. 2019 The wheels run along the curbs of the tunnels to keep the vehicle going straight. Tim Higgins, WSJ, "Inside Elon Musk’s Tunnel to Alleviate ‘Soul-Destroying’ Traffic," 19 Dec. 2018 After the Indians take Alexandre to be tortured to force him to do the baptism, Roger begins digging a tunnel to escape. Outlander Fan, Marie Claire, "'Outlander' Season 4 Episode 12 Recap: 5 Biggest Takeaways," 21 Jan. 2019 The former was held in July by the Paris Peripherique with Georgian wedding tables becoming the runway; the latter at the sensory overload of a show held in a screen tunnel constructed at Luc Besson’s film studio. Vogue, "Vogue Editors Share Their Favorite Fashion Shows of the Year," 28 Dec. 2018 To access the Skyspace, visitors walk through a glowing subterranean tunnel whose door was built to perfectly align to Biberkopf peak. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "James Turrell’s new Skyspace is nestled into the Austrian mountains," 1 Oct. 2018 Anchoring the new wing of the wonderful and wonderfully weird Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), seven miles upriver from downtown Hobart, Tasmania, Faro is reached via a tunnel of shimmering light made by the American artist James Turrell. Adam Sachs, Town & Country, "How Tasmania Became the Food World’s Newest Culinary Odyssey," 20 Sep. 2018 But foremost on the county’s list, Marchesano said, is that the developer build a prisoner transport pedestrian tunnel from the downtown county Central Jail to the Central Courthouse. Pauline Repard, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Old downtown courthouse being stripped before demolition," 7 July 2018 Hank builds a tunnel for quantum realm spousal extraction, and Scott/Ant-Man’s the man for the plan. Michael Phillips, kansascity, "‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’: With Paul Rudd, here’s one infestation we can get behind," 5 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

6 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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