Definition of funnel in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈfənl/


1A tube or pipe that is wide at the top and narrow at the bottom, used for guiding liquid or powder into a small opening.
Example sentences
  • He referred to the fact that he also knows at the present time that the cavity opening was like a funnel, narrow at the bottom and wide at the top.
  • The range of ideas explored should feel like a funnel, starting off wide, and narrowing as you go along.
  • This device acts as a funnel, guiding a woman's urine to the relief tube.
tube, pipe, channel, conduit
1.1A thing resembling a funnel in shape or function: a funnel of light fell from a circular ceiling
More example sentences
  • The wind blows in different directions within the cloud and forms a funnel.
  • Four dark shapes, menacing funnels belching spark-laced smoke thundered down the rolling plains, the ground churning to dust underneath their cruel wheels.
  • A sea funnel, taking the shape and appearance of an under-water tornado grew in size, swallowing up everything that came close enough to it.
1.2A metal chimney on a ship or steam engine.
Example sentences
  • The cruiser lurched under the hail of fire - two shots slammed into the wheels and funnels of the strange ship, shattering wood and rending metal until the sleek machine of death became a tangled mess of bloody scrap.
  • Her symptoms are much milder, certainly, but Christopher has a fear of the colour yellow; Hayley has a phobia about cogs and ship funnels.
  • From a distance, you can also make out the ship's two enormous funnels, each emblazoned on both sides with a huge letter ‘S ‘set in a laurel wreath.’

verb (funnels, funneling, funneled ; British funnels, funnelling, funnelled)

[with object and adverbial of direction]
1Guide or channel (something) through or as if through a funnel: some $12.8 billion was funneled through the Marshall Plan
More example sentences
  • When calves are fed milk it is funnelled through the oesophageal groove to the true stomach by-passing the rumen.
  • Even when Congress orders a study, the funding doesn't come directly from the legislature; it is usually funneled through an executive agency - one which might be opposed to the study and hold up the funding.
  • Funds, clothing, food, etc. are not given directly to the poor, rather they are funneled through the recipient government.
channel, feed, direct, pump, convey, move, pass;
pour, filter, trickle down
1.1 [no object, with adverbial of direction] Move or be guided through or as if through a funnel: the wind funneled down through the valley
More example sentences
  • They'll make it physical, use to their benefit the fact that the Gaelic Grounds is a small pitch and attempt to force Kerry to play a tight game funnelled down the middle.
  • The cavern funnelled down to a gloomy interior with a floor at 16m and seemed ideal for the purpose.
  • That emphasis has been funneled down to individual papers and newsrooms through a variety of performance requirements, marketing programs and new product strategies.
1.2 [no object] Assume the shape of a funnel by widening or narrowing at the end: the crevice funneled out
More example sentences
  • Indeed, the only disappointment in the hearts of Rovers fans as they funnelled out the gate was that there were not more goals.
  • As our sleepiness dissipated into the dank pre-dawn air, we funneled out of the darkness into the foreboding cigarette smoke-filled briefing room.
  • Huge swathes of important streets, like Third Avenue - a main artery on the East Side - would simply be shut down unexpectedly during prime hours, and all cars funneled through a narrow point.



Pronunciation: /-ˌlīk/
Example sentences
  • Recent experimental studies of denatured state showed that this funnellike landscape is a basic and necessary characteristic of real proteins to keep the native structure as a stable and unique state.
  • I couldn't see my old cows climbing up and down the funnellike sides of this wide, far-off canyon.
  • It is formed by a funnellike depression or a groove supported with fibrillar components.


Late Middle English: apparently via Old French from Provençal fonilh, from late Latin fundibulum, from Latin infundibulum, from infundere, from in- 'into' + fundere 'pour'.

Words that rhyme with funnel

Chunnel, gunnel, gunwale, runnel, tunnel

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: fun·nel

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.