Definition of tunnel in English:

tunnel

noun

  • 1An artificial underground passage, especially one built through a hill or under a building, road, or river.

    ‘a road tunnel through the Pyrenees’
    ‘the Mersey tunnel’
    as modifier ‘the tunnel mouth’
    • ‘We have a toll road here that goes through a tunnel under the river.’
    • ‘A Swindon engineering company is taking a lead role in the design of a road tunnel beneath 5,000-year-old Stonehenge.’
    • ‘Authorities abroad are increasingly opting for road tunnels.’
    • ‘A tunnel closed and the road was down to two lanes.’
    • ‘I hope the tunnels and more roads will change the situation so I can have a car soon.’
    • ‘The winning consortium is likely also to take over the running of the Dartford tunnel and road bridge that carries the M25 over the Thames east of London.’
    • ‘A tunnel has been built leading to the new underground ‘bat hotel’, which has tiered accommodation from which bats can hang.’
    • ‘The Limerick South Ring Road, including the tunnel, will allow traffic to bypass Limerick city by linking the Docks Road with the Ennis Road.’
    • ‘Whilst Alpine road and rail tunnels and the Channel tunnel have made travel between some of Europe's nations easier, physical and cultural barriers remain.’
    • ‘Drivers must now call the police immediately if their vehicles break down on elevated roads, tunnels and bridges across the Huangpu River.’
    • ‘They are building a road tunnel through the area.’
    • ‘He conceded, however, that the toll might cause people to avoid the tunnel and use local roads instead.’
    • ‘The Faroese also boast some spectacular road tunnels, but they're not so excited about these feats of engineering that they feel obliged to name them after people.’
    • ‘New roads and tunnels have been built and public transport modernised.’
    • ‘Local villagers cut a tunnel road through the mountain and named it Guoliang Cave.’
    • ‘Norway is home to the longest and the deepest road tunnels in the world.’
    • ‘Detective Constable Ian Thornton and PC Kim Wandless tracked Wood down to a tunnel under King's Road and he was arrested.’
    • ‘As I went into the tunnel at Finchley Road I switched off all the interior lights.’
    • ‘There are deep gashes in the roads; some are still blocked by landslides and a major road tunnel to the town has collapsed.’
    • ‘A bank of trees here or a cycleway there makes no odds if you're building two major new roads and a massive tunnel.’
    underground passage, subterranean passage
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 An underground passage dug by a burrowing animal.
      • ‘Animal tunnels incorporated into the design will also allow local wildlife to cross.’
      • ‘They line the burrow tunnel with pebbles and shell fragments.’
      • ‘It is not known if all the burrow nesting species excavate the tunnels or if some use tunnels dug by rodents or other animals.’
      • ‘Burrow tunnels were examined each day; in 1999, younger nestlings left the supplements uneaten.’
      • ‘Their burrows were normally underground, in long tunnels.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Many fungi are found in soil and often fostered by small ground animals and their feces-filled tunnels.’
      • ‘Small mounds are created when moles burrow deep or tunnel under solid objects such as tree roots or sidewalks.’
    2. 1.2 A passage in a sports stadium by which players enter or leave the field.
      ‘he jogged off the field and into the tunnel’
      • ‘At 3: 25, Lynch leads the rest of the defensive backs out of the tunnel and onto the field for pre-game warm-ups.’
      • ‘One of the Turkey players stood in the tunnel and, gesturing to me, ran his fingers across his throat as if he wanted to cut it.’
      • ‘Both sets of mascots click-clack out of the tunnel holding their players by the hands and then line up.’
      • ‘A television camera followed the Wales team from their changing room to the players' tunnel at the Millennium Stadium.’
      • ‘In Frankfurt the players are in the tunnel.’
      • ‘Wenger claimed he didn't see the scuffles between opposing players and coaches in the stadium tunnel after the match.’
      • ‘That incident briefly flared up again as the players entered the tunnel after the game.’
      • ‘By half-time it is clear that Everton are second best, and Moyes disappears down the tunnel before his players, his face an intense mixture of frustration and fury.’
  • 2

    short for wind tunnel
  • 3A long, half-cylindrical enclosure used to protect plants, made of clear plastic stretched over hoops.

    ‘cover plants in rows with a cloche tunnel’
    • ‘He said over the past two years he had been commercially growing bedding plants in tunnels in his garden.’
    • ‘Turn one of your beds into a hoop tunnel and sow peas, salad greens and spinach for next spring.’
    • ‘They can also be put into fruit cages after the fruit has been gathered and into greenhouses and tunnels in autumn to give the place a good going over before it is prepared for spring.’
    • ‘The protecting tunnel is gone, though steel hoops remain.’
    • ‘Today Palomino grapes are frequently dried to raisins under plastic tunnels, pressed, and fortified before fermentation to make a mistela.’
    • ‘Rows of bright green Swiss Chard lined the plastic tunnels.’
    • ‘The extra support is necessary because tomatoes in the tunnels grow more vigorously than field-grown plants.’
    • ‘The row planted inside the tunnel is tall and vibrant.’
    • ‘Where hard freezes are frequent, the plants need the protection of a plastic tunnel.’
    • ‘In the winter the tunnels are lined with plastic.’

verb

  • 1no object, with adverbial of direction Dig or force a passage underground or through something.

    ‘he tunnelled under the fence’
    ‘the insect tunnels its way out of the plant’
    • ‘In recent years, badgers have tunnelled into 52 ancient monuments on Salisbury Plain.’
    • ‘A week of tramping for miles underground and sleeping in limestone catacombs tunneled out by sulfuric acid is not everyone's idea of happy camping.’
    • ‘If you tunnel underground and travel in a straight line, you cover less distance.’
    • ‘Termites are usually happy to tunnel through a sand-filled tube, but when a layer of sand soaked in catnip oil is present it stops them dead in their tracks.’
    • ‘The catheter is tunneled under the skin and enters a large vein and then is threaded into the superior vena cava.’
    • ‘The weevil's eggs are deposited inside the banana tissue and once hatched, they tunnel through the corm for feeding and growth.’
    • ‘The machine for tunnelling the underground section will be imported from either Japan, Germany or the United Kingdom.’
    • ‘Mr Harris revealed that, despite the ban, he had been part of a group that continued tunnelling through an undiscovered route nicknamed George.’
    • ‘These grubs create straight, narrow mines as they tunnel into the leaves, followed by larger, brown or yellow blisters as they grow and feed inside the foliage.’
    • ‘Marauding badgers are again tunnelling under a pre-school.’
    • ‘Ancient burial sites across Salisbury Plain could soon be fenced off to prevent badgers from tunnelling through the archaeology.’
    • ‘The snow was so thick, he was able to tunnel through it without it collapsing on him until he started clearing the hood.’
    • ‘Rescuers tunnelled into the wreckage taking great care to prevent further collapses.’
    • ‘A tube approximately 24 inches in length is tunneled under the skin into the peritoneum.’
    • ‘Gophers tunnel through the ground to eat tender bulbs and shoots.’
    • ‘He's got a nice big backyard to roam through, with ivy to tunnel through and a couple of dirt patches to dig in.’
    • ‘The site is dangerous and our concern is that they are not experts in tunnelling and we are genuinely concerned about their safety.’
    • ‘Electric transport tunnelled underground as well as overground: the first ‘tube’ was built in London in 1887-90.’
    • ‘They look to tunnel through corporate networks through mass emails.’
    • ‘Mr Hutton had suggested tunnelling through Bradford, but this would prove too costly, especially as Bradford Beck would have to be diverted.’
    dig, dig one's way, burrow
    View synonyms
  • 2Physics
    no object (of a particle) pass through a potential barrier.

    • ‘By making the particles interact, they approximated quantum tunneling - a phenomenon forbidden by classical mechanics.’
    • ‘In rare cases where a quantum mechanical effect called tunneling occurs in the reaction, deuterium isotope effects of 20 or more have been observed.’
    • ‘Eventually, quantum confinement effects and tunneling currents dominate the device design.’
    • ‘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.’

Phrases

  • light at the end of the tunnel

    • An indication that a long period of difficulty is nearing an end.

      ‘it had been a hard struggle but I could see a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel’
      • ‘This has been a negative and stressful time for all concerned, but I can see a positive light at the end of the tunnel for sure.’
      • ‘There is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel, but it is still a long way off yet.’
      • ‘It has, at times, been difficult but he can see a light at the end of the tunnel now.’
      • ‘One light at the end of the tunnel for taxi drivers has been the allocation of another taxi rank to be placed at Harmony Hill.’
      • ‘There is no light at the end of this awful dark, painful tunnel.’
      • ‘We are able to work alone for long periods of time, if necessary, with no light at the end of the tunnel.’
      • ‘And with no light at the end of the tunnel, pressure on the government's Debt Management Office will grow.’
      • ‘They do not see the light at the end of the tunnel as far as their lives go.’
      • ‘I don't think there's a light at the end of the tunnel for baseball anytime soon.’
      • ‘People are feeling very hopeless and tired, and they really need to see the light at the end of the tunnel.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation

tunnel

/ˈtʌn(ə)l/