Definition of funnel in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈfʌn(ə)l/


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
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.’
chimney, flue, vent, shaft;
Scottish & Northern English  lum

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

[with object and adverbial of direction]
1Guide or channel (something) through or as if through a funnel: some $12.8 billion was funnelled 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, guide, feed, direct, convey, move, pass;
pour, filter, siphon
1.1 [no object, with adverbial of direction] Move or be guided through or as if through a funnel: the wind funnelled 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 funnelled 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.


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
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.