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

The weapons specialist and an intelligence sergeant took turns firing from the tunnel entrance. Michael M. Phillips, WSJ, "‘I Think I’ve Been Shot’: Nighttime Raid in Afghanistan Reveals New U.S. Strategy," 5 Dec. 2018 In addition, the neighborhood will contain an Urban Consolidation Center, which will distribute freight and collect waste centrally via robots and a tunnel system, eliminating noise, pollution, and congestion. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Sidewalk Labs’s updated smart city plan aims for ‘people-first public realm’," 30 Nov. 2018 The explosions caused landslides near the tunnel entrances and sent up clouds of smoke and dust. Deb Riechmann And Matthew Pennington, Fox News, "A need to verify NKorea nuclear pledges," 22 June 2018 The explosions caused landslides near the tunnel entrances and sent up clouds of smoke and dust. Washington Post, "A need to verify NKorea nuclear pledges," 22 June 2018 Last summer, Musk touted a possible high-speed tunnel project connecting Washington, D.C., and New York. BostonGlobe.com, "Imara has a new CEO," 15 June 2018 Some key facilities remain intact and the tunnel entrances remain open, however. Joshua Berlinger, CNN, "North Korea monitors claim nuclear test site dismantling has begun," 15 May 2018 The images do not definitively show the sort of irreversible closure skeptics would hope for, as CNN reports, though that could be coming soon: Some key facilities remain intact and the tunnel entrances remain open, however. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "North Korea Appears to Be Shutting Down Its Nuke-Testing Site," 15 May 2018 Musk first revealed the concept for the tunnel system in 2017, with the intention of transporting passenger vehicles. Johana Bhuiyan, Recode, "According to an SEC filing, the tunnel-boring company has raised about $113 million.," 16 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 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

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

14 Mar 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

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