Definition of tunnel in English:


Syllabification: tun·nel
Pronunciation: /ˈtənl


  • 1An artificial underground passage, especially one built through a hill or under a building, road, or river.
    More example sentences
    • New roads and tunnels have been built and public transport modernised.
    • A bank of trees here or a cycleway there makes no odds if you're building two major new roads and a massive tunnel.
    • Drivers must now call the police immediately if their vehicles break down on elevated roads, tunnels and bridges across the Huangpu River.
    underground passage, underpass, subway; shaft; burrow, hole
    historical mine
  • 1.1An underground passage dug by a burrowing animal.
    More example sentences
    • It burrows a tunnel far into a sandy bank on the riverside and dwells therein, safe from cold, wind, rain and creatures that would devour it.
    • Animal tunnels incorporated into the design will also allow local wildlife to cross.
    • Burrow tunnels were examined each day; in 1999, younger nestlings left the supplements uneaten.
  • 1.2 [in singular] A passage in a sports stadium by which players enter or leave the field.
    More example sentences
    • That incident briefly flared up again as the players entered the tunnel after the game.
    • A television camera followed the Wales team from their changing room to the players' tunnel at the Millennium Stadium.
    • Wenger claimed he didn't see the scuffles between opposing players and coaches in the stadium tunnel after the match.

verb (tunnels, tunneling, tunneled ; British tunnels, tunnelling, tunnelled)

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  • 1 [no object] Dig or force a passage underground or through something: he tunneled under the fence (tunnel one's way) the insect tunnels its way out of the plant
    More example sentences
    • In recent years, badgers have tunnelled into 52 ancient monuments on Salisbury Plain.
    • Rescuers tunnelled into the wreckage taking great care to prevent further collapses.
    • They look to tunnel through corporate networks through mass emails.
  • 2 [no object] Physics (Of a particle) pass through a potential barrier.
    More example sentences
    • By making the particles interact, they approximated quantum tunneling - a phenomenon forbidden by classical mechanics.
    • They are restricted to orbit given atoms, and they can only move from one to the other by quantum tunneling.
    • In photon tunneling, the intensity of evanescent light is reduced when the lasing particle is approached by a non-lasing one.


light at the end of the tunnel

see light1.



More example sentences
  • The work by specialist tunnellers, which will take nearly three months to complete, is part of a giant engineering jigsaw that Scottish Water says will bring Glasgow's water supply into the 21st century.
  • Underground worker Roger Barron, 53, revealed that some coalface workers and tunnellers were earning up to £1,000 a week before Wistow closed.
  • Room after room of the city's buildings had holes hacked through the walls by tunnellers.


late Middle English (in the senses 'tunnel net' and 'flue of a chimney'): from Old French tonel, diminutive of tonne 'cask'. sense 1 of the verb of the noun dates from the mid 18th century.

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Pronunciation: ˌkələrəˈto͝orə
elaborate ornamentation of a vocal melody