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

Brown, a staunch supporter of the twin tunnels, phoned MWD board members before the April 10 meeting, urging them to vote yes. Bettina Boxall, latimes.com, "Metropolitan Water District again approves delta tunnel funding," 11 July 2018 Members of the Thai navy SEALs and foreign divers squeezed through miles of tunnels, risking their lives to find and carry the young players through an underwater matrix that daunted the British specialists brought in to help. Hannah Beech, The Seattle Times, "For some Thai soccer-team members, cave ordeal was only their latest test," 10 July 2018 They were found a week ago, but the heavy rains that flooded parts of the twisting array of tunnels have made their rescue treacherous. Doyle Rice, USA TODAY, "Race against the rain: With monsoons looming midweek, Thai cave rescue takes on urgency," 9 July 2018 The Thai government released an infographic Sunday explaining that oxygen tanks would have to be removed and carefully rolled through the narrowest parts of the tunnels. Feliz Solomon / Chiang Rai, Time, "Four of the 12 Boys Trapped in a Thai Cave For More Than Two Weeks Have Been Rescued," 8 July 2018 Beneath a building attached to the distillery are a set of tunnels that are said to have been used during Prohibition. Bailey Loosemore, The Courier-Journal, "Tequila in bourbon barrels? New craft distillery comes to Phoenix Hill," 2 July 2018 After thousands of miles of tunnels were dynamited and drilled, a giant open pit copper mine was dug near the headwaters of the creek. New York Times, "Let the Stream Run Through It," 25 June 2018 Pictures showed flooding in one of the tunnels at PNC Park. CBS News, "Heavy rains spur flooding, havoc in western Pennsylvania," 21 June 2018 The physician makes a number of passes with the instrument and creates a number of pencil-sized tunnels through the adipose tissue. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Treatments to sculpt your body: Is Liposuction or CoolSculpting® an option?," 12 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 Musk’s companies could help by trying to locate the boys’ precise location (Space Exploration Technologies), excavating and pumping water (tunneling startup Boring Co.) or providing heavy-duty battery packs (Tesla’s Powerwalls). Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: EPA chief Scott Pruitt is the seventh cabinet-level person to leave the Trump administration," 6 July 2018 The sunshine also spurred a lot of growth, with brush and wildflowers growing tall and tunneling the ridgeline hike until the Junior Pole. Author: Kat Sorensen, Anchorage Daily News, "Mount Marathon race trail has it all: snow, lush vegetation, flowing water and lots of dust," 3 July 2018 When the eggs hatch, larvae enter the leaves and begin to tunnel between the leaf surfaces. Tom Maccubbin, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Strange happenings among citrus trees," 29 June 2018 Musk founded the company in the hope of alleviating city gridlock by building more tunnels, an endeavor that has set the company's engineers toward improving tunneling techniques. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "Chicago selects Elon Musk’s Boring Company to build express line from O‘Hare," 14 June 2018 Surprise Aquatic Center The center is packed with water activities, from zero-depth areas with water features to flume and tunnel slides, a vortex whirlpool, a competition pool, a diving well and two 1-meter boards. azcentral, "45 Phoenix area splash pads, parks and water features," 14 June 2018 Previous attempts to build a north-south metro line were met with resistance, as locals objected to the potential damage posed by tunneling through Amsterdam’s historic city center. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "New Website Unearths Amsterdam’s History Via 700,000 Artifacts Spanning 5,000 Years," 2 July 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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Phrases Related to tunnel

a light at the end of the tunnel

Statistics for tunnel

Last Updated

12 Sep 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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Comments on tunnel

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