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 Owner Luke Nero stands in a neon tunnel at Strut Bar & Club, which will open soon at 719 W. 19th St. in Costa Mesa. Daily Pilot, "New Costa Mesa club seeks to electrify O.C.'s queer nightlife scene," 13 Sep. 2019 To go farther east to Tracy or to a big park-and-ride stop at Mountain House would be much more expensive, especially with a new tunnel. Letters To The Editor, The Mercury News, "Letter: Rapid transit to Central Valley solves housing, traffic issues," 13 Sep. 2019 The Mexican army has discovered a tunnel in Tijuana’s Otay area. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Mexican authorities discover tunnel in Tijuana," 12 Sep. 2019 The new location required travelers to walk under the roadway, via a tunnel and set of escalators, to access the shuttles. Susan Glaser, cleveland.com, "Cleveland Hopkins will keep shuttle drop off at north end of terminal; improvements planned," 12 Sep. 2019 In a separate project in Lithuania, a tunnel used by Jewish prisoners to escape the Nazis was discovered. Fox News, "Hitler's secret Nazi war machine revealed in hidden bases," 6 Sep. 2019 The router can also be used in concert with InvizBox Go—a mobile Wi-Fi router with VPN capability—to create a safe tunnel back to your home network. Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "InvizBox 2 redefines what “privacy” routers can do," 3 Sep. 2019 One year later, a car carrying the Princess and her boyfriend, Egyptian socialite Dodi Fayed, crashed into a tunnel close to the Eiffel Tower. Saffeya Ahmed, CNN, "Celebrities and fans honor Princess Diana's death, more than two decades later," 31 Aug. 2019 Ever hang out in a sketchy tunnel that would be perfect for the competition? Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, "The Government Needs Your Help Finding Sketchy Underground Tunnels ASAP," 30 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Anyone can, as A.B. did, crawl through the passageways surrounding the towering niches in the cliff, through winding staircases tunneled into the sandstone and up steps with risers double the height of modern ones, as if built for giants. New York Times, "2 Giant Buddhas Survived 1,500 Years. Fragments, Graffiti and a Hologram Remain.," 18 June 2019 Instead of directly absorbing energy, electrons can also tunnel through barriers to get to the conduction band. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Wireless nanowire lasers absorb infrared, emit blue light," 1 June 2019 Yet the magazine’s final moment of thumb-in-the-eye relevance—this May, when Donald Trump compared Pete Buttigieg to Alfred E. Neuman—emphasized just how deeply Mad has tunnelled its way into the culture, waiting to inspire anew. Jordan Orlando, The New Yorker, "A World Without Mad Magazine," 25 July 2019 But the challenge of tunneling through these barriers increases as the roadblocks get taller, making it so that fewer particles can break through. Rachel Crowell, Scientific American, "Quirky Quantum Tunneling Observed," 9 July 2019 Carpenter ants build their nests by tunneling in wet and rotting wood, and generally do not go into healthy wood. Tim Johnson, chicagotribune.com, "Carpenter ants build nests in wet, rotting wood," 3 July 2019 There and in bouncing-droplet labs that soon sprang up at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and elsewhere, droplets were seen to tunnel through barriers and perform other acts previously thought to be uniquely quantum. Quanta Magazine, "Famous Experiment Dooms Alternative to Quantum Weirdness," 11 Oct. 2018 El Chapo’’ Guzman has been sentenced to life behind bars in a U.S. prison, a humbling end for a drug lord notorious for his ability to kill, bribe or tunnel his way out of trouble. Tom Hays, BostonGlobe.com, "Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman sentenced to life in prison," 17 July 2019 If the setup is just right — and if the universe cooperates — some of those particles will transform into mirror-image versions of themselves, allowing them to tunnel right through the wall. NBC News, "Scientists are searching for a mirror universe. It could be sitting right in front of you.," 30 June 2019

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

24 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for tunnel

The first known use of tunnel was in 1508

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More Definitions for tunnel

tunnel

noun
How to pronounce tunnel (audio)

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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Comments on tunnel

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