Meaning of TUNNEL in English


I. ˈtən ə l noun

( -s )

Usage: often attributive

Etymology: Middle English tonel, from Middle French tonel, tonnel cask, tun, from Old French, from tonne tun, from Medieval Latin tunna, tonna barrel, tun, of Celtic origin; akin to Middle Irish tonn skin, hide, Welsh ton; akin to Latin tondēre to shear, crop — more at tome

1. : tunnel net 1


a. archaic : a chimney flue

b. dialect : funnel

c. : a hollow conduit or recess : tube , well

drive shaft tunnel

drying tunnel

specifically : shaft tunnel

d. : a bodily channel

a more or less circular tunnel , the neural canal — W.E.Swinton

e. : wind tunnel


a. : a covered passageway

the tunnel of a long nave — George Santayana

specifically : a nearly horizontal passageway through or under an obstruction

railroad tunnel through a mountain

take the midtown tunnel from Long Island to New York


(1) : a subterranean gallery (as in a cave or mine)

(2) : adit

c. : a narrow enclosed pressurized corridor connecting two pressurized personnel compartments of an airplane

d. : the burrow of an insect or other animal

mole's tunnel

termite tunnels in beams

e. : something that resembles a corridor

a tunnel of trees

headlights created their own tunnel of light — Paul Scott

trapped in the tunnel of their own logic — Douglas Stewart

specifically : an arch formed by partners' joined hands in a square dance

II. verb

( tunneled or tunnelled ; tunneled or tunnelled ; tunneling or tunnelling -n( ə )liŋ ; tunnels )

transitive verb

1. archaic : to catch in a tunnel net


a. : to pass through a covered channel : advance by or as if by excavating a tunnel

belt tunneled through wide black patent girdle — Women's Wear Daily

larvae … tunneling their way through the cappings — Gleanings in Bee Culture

b. : to penetrate with or as if with a tunnel : make a passage through or under

the acid water … tunneled it, so that it is honeycombed — Marjory S. Douglas

lights tunnel the darkness

intransitive verb


a. : to make or use a tunnel

with a view to keeping the gradient down … proposed to tunnel under the ridge — O.S.Nock

a creaking train … tunneled through the hill — J.A.Michener

b. : undermine

appeared to be tunneling under all the established values — Sherwood Anderson

2. physics : to pass through a potential barrier

electrons … tunnel back to the vacant sites — Frederick Seitz

III. noun

: curl herein

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.