Definition of channel in English:



  • 1A length of water wider than a strait, joining two larger areas of water, especially two seas.

    • ‘Masses are deposited in tidal channels or shallow pools that retain water at low tide, and are secured in place by a long sand-mucus tether buried firmly in the substrate.’
    • ‘The race mixed the traditional rowing rivalry between Oxford and Cambridge and saw seven boats take to the channel to race the 21-mile stretch from Great Britain to France.’
    • ‘Usually these trips include passage to neighbouring Anti-Paxos, across the mile-wide channel that separates the two islands.’
    • ‘They were scattered over a mile area and unreachable because of water channels in the flats.’
    • ‘The Coast Mountains rise steeply from the fjords and channels on the coast, and glaciers are found at higher elevations.’
    • ‘What makes the islands particularly irresistible are two large channels called O'Keefe's Passage and the Valley of the Rays.’
    • ‘The Navy concluded that the presence of the whales in an ocean channel with calm water, which amplifies sound, caused the sonar to damage their ears.’
    • ‘Around me the water was moving slowly through the channel towards the fjord.’
    • ‘In front of the shallow side of the eastern channel is an area of brilliant white sand which splits the reef in two.’
    • ‘Conditions in which coastal fish concentrate in deep holes such as harbors, port, channels and canals typically don't last for more than a couple of days.’
    • ‘This is a difficult claim to accept because of deep ocean channels in the Indonesian Archipelago.’
    • ‘Aldabra is famous among divers for the currents that flow through its channels as the changing tidal height affects the water in its lagoon.’
    • ‘The ocean swell presses a thick plankton soup into the fjords and channels in the area, forming a base for an impressive array of underwater life forms.’
    • ‘We duly set off, heading across the Eday Sound, a channel of water between Sanday and Eday about three miles across.’
    • ‘It is an ideal place to sample some of the most adventurous diving you could ever hope to find - around the rugged shores and channels of Queen Charlotte Strait.’
    • ‘The operation involves removing the pontoon by crane, dragging the silt along it's length into the channel where the dredger will suck it up and deposit it in the licensed sites out at sea.’
    • ‘You'll kayak through a maze of fjords and tidal channels and through the ice-encrusted Cordillera Darwin and the most active tidewater glaciers in the world.’
    • ‘The bay includes saltmarsh, shallow and open water, tidal channels, mudflats and numerous islands, and a freshwater pond.’
    • ‘Diffuse seepage can occur on a wide front, especially near to the channel where the water-table joins the stream.’
    • ‘On islands farther out in the archipelago, across water channels that may run several miles wide, deer make up about 50 percent of the diet.’
    sound, neck, arm, narrows, passage, sea passage, stretch of water, waterway
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    1. 1.1 The navigable part of a waterway.
      ‘buoys marked the safe limits of the channel’
      • ‘The present channel is 3m deep and larger vessels can only enter the harbour in suitable tides.’
      • ‘It was conducted in response to the Geraldton Port Authority's plan to deepen the harbour and shipping channel to allow vessels to take full loads when they leave the port.’
      • ‘Large ships coming g into Glasgow from the sea use a channel of deeper water in the middle of the Clyde to navigate the river.’
      • ‘There is always a good head of water maintained in the navigational channel with a maximum depth approaching 12 ft at low tide.’
      • ‘Every day the ship carefully navigated through the channels of blue icebergs, some as large as aircraft carriers, some smaller chunks of the most magnificently formed shapes.’
      • ‘By our English law there is a public right of passage through our navigable channels, whether in a port or the approaches to it.’
      • ‘However, local knowledge would suggest that many vessels follow the channel to the East of the Dangers.’
      • ‘He also called for the provision of navigational lights along the channel, the removal of some boulders and the provision of marina facilities on both side of the bridge.’
      • ‘Just recently new lights were installed in the channel making it navigational at night for the first time ever.’
      • ‘Some of these systems can also show the contour of the bottom on both sides of the boat, a great benefit when navigating unmarked channels.’
      • ‘They missed the channel and went aground, burying the vessel a good four metres into the reef.’
      • ‘The Port Authority has stated that it was looking at undertaking some dredging to widen the shipping channel so that vessels including the Irish ferry would be able to pass the jetty at a further distance.’
      • ‘A chain blocked the navigable channel, secured on one side by the city walls and on the other by a tower on an island close to the shore.’
      • ‘The most costly element of the dredging will be the removal of a massive rock which is located in a shallow area of the channel on the south side of the harbour.’
      • ‘Trapped, they chose to paddle three miles down the coast to Waimea, where they hoped the deep-water bay would provide a navigable channel.’
      • ‘If a vessel veers off the channel to port the light becomes red and veering to starboard shows a green light.’
      • ‘The original purpose of the canal was to drain the Lough Mask basin and provide a navigation channel for commercial traffic.’
      • ‘The beautiful vessel was steered through the channel by Harbour Master, Donal Walsh, who brought her carefully to the quay wall without a hitch.’
      • ‘Chairman, Tom Fitzgerald, said due to the present depth of the channel, large vessels were restricted in entering the area.’
      • ‘But there are concerns that the proposal could cause channels to silt up and become less navigable for leisure craft.’
      sound, neck, arm, narrows, passage, sea passage, stretch of water, waterway
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    2. 1.2 A hollow bed for a natural or artificial waterway.
      • ‘When there were less built-up areas and the storm water channels were free of blockages and more tanks to collect rainwater, the monsoon barely made any difference.’
      • ‘It is possible that it represents an entirely artificial channel, constructed when the marshes were drained as a replacement for this natural watercourse.’
      • ‘A few weeks ago this ice measured three metres thick and was blocking 80% of the channel in this area right down to the bottom of the river.’
      • ‘It was built on a sloping terrain between two seasonal storm-water channels with dams and channels to direct the water into huge reservoirs.’
      • ‘The laminated character and the association with sandstone suggest deposition from suspension in abandoned channels or ox-bow lakes.’
      • ‘Swamp forests of bald cypress and tupelo grow in low-lying areas such as floodplains or abandoned river channels.’
      • ‘The bay areas have roads and channels that can be seen leading to the modified shore lines.’
      • ‘Mud was stripped off the peat over wide areas, and narrow channels were locally cut through the mud and into the peat.’
      • ‘It will mirror the other segments and include two more water vessels and cascades, one more water channel, one more lawn and one more plant bed.’
      • ‘As is illustrated by Lake Nokomis, some drainages have been altered by the construction of dams and artificial channels.’
      • ‘Electrical barriers, which produce an electrical field, have limited but proven use in ditches and other narrow water channels.’
      • ‘Meandering is a very common feature of natural river channels, but the morphology and stability of meanders varies.’
      • ‘Many follow the island's 1,365 miles of irrigation channels, called levadas, stretches of which run along steep slopes with precipitous drops to one side.’
      • ‘In the last four months, archaeologists have revealed the pool's 50m length and a channel that brought water from the Silwan Spring to the pool.’
      • ‘The city is crossed from east to west by the Rio Mapocho, which passes through an artificial stone channel 40m wide spanned by several bridges.’
      • ‘In time, as the Ecca Sea filled with sediment and the deltas prograded basinward, large tracts of river channels and floodplains emerged.’
      • ‘They are excavating on both sides of the M62, cutting a diversion channel so the canal go under the motorway bridge without disrupting traffic above.’
      • ‘I can believe the widespread flowing water part, but did this flowing water excavate channels and valleys or create unconformities over a long period of time?’
      • ‘In addition, some power plants discharge warm water into inland channels, creating more temperate oases for manatees.’
      • ‘To power their sawmill's waterwheel, they carved out a channel which in effect created the island we know today.’
      duct, gutter, groove, furrow, rut, conduit, trough, trench, culvert, cut, sluice, spillway, race, ditch, drain, watercourse, waterway, canal
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    3. 1.3 The English Channel.
  • 2A band of frequencies used in radio and television transmission, especially as used by a particular station.

    • ‘This effort is based on the use of fiber-optic cables or radio channels to transmit control commands to the weapons and getting information from them.’
    • ‘He typed in his identification and sent an emergency signal on all channels.’
    • ‘Under this concept, multiple antennas simultaneously transmit different flows of data over one and the same radio channel and frequency band.’
    • ‘The FM radio band falls between channels 6 and 7 on the VHF band so a VHF antenna will usually work for FM as well.’
    • ‘The base frequency selected was five gigahertz, a range in which future commercial transmission channels are likely to operate.’
    • ‘The FCC proposes to insist that unlicensed devices in these bands should incorporate cognitive radios to identify unused channels.’
    • ‘Data channels are just like radio channels-you can only have so many in a frequency range; however, unlike radio channels, more than one user can use a single channel.’
    • ‘The claimant then made the third radio transmission on channel seven.’
    • ‘It's multiple channel so you can select a genre of music you like.’
    • ‘In addition, television-station allocation is skewed toward lower frequency channels that offer superior transmission.’
    • ‘It specifies three available radio channels and a maximum link rate of 54 - Mbps per channel.’
    • ‘The technology will have to accommodate digital television's hundreds of channels, each one transmitting dozens of programs at the same time.’
    • ‘Audio signals may also be included, and up to eight channels of 192KHz audio is supported.’
    • ‘If the U-NII device finds an operating radar, it would either move to another channel or go into sleep mode if no channels are available.’
    • ‘This is much the same as the channel in radio, television, or cable TV.’
    • ‘It combines two radio channels to work simultaneously in order to increase the bandwidth for sending and receiving packets.’
    • ‘If someone shows up and claims channel 10, they will interfere with the signals on channels 9 and 11.’
    • ‘Officials are to investigate why a second back-up radio channel failed to transmit some of the data back from the probe.’
    • ‘Over the last two decades, amplitude compression has been used on all FM radio channels.’
    • ‘For example, it is able to handle several radio frequency channels so it can be used by customers in different countries.’
    broadcasting organization
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    1. 2.1 A service or station using a particular frequency.
      ‘a shopping channel’
      • ‘Before joining the channel in February 1998, he had spent 18 years with the BBC, where he edited Match of the Day, Grandstand and Sportsnight.’
      • ‘There was the sense that the programme had simply stepped out of line with the channel's public service broadcasting remit.’
      • ‘For 12 years of her Met Office career, she has provided forecasts on a host of BBC television and radio channels.’
      • ‘Coming from Canada, where the sport is something of a religion, it's frustrating to say that the sport channels in this area of the world give precedence to almost everything else.’
      • ‘And MTV pledges to make stars out of some aspiring African musicians, as it launches its first pan-African channel.’
      • ‘To get millions of people to sit down in front of a TV channel for any length of time and soak up all those advertising messages, broadcasters first have to spend big money.’
      • ‘This is a device that is also descrambling pay-per-view or premium channels.’
      • ‘Television and radio networks became all-news channels.’
      • ‘In due course it was joined by other music-themed channels, and soon a growing number of fans had unlimited access to televised pop at the touch of a remote.’
      • ‘All the television and radio channels and newspapers are devoting lots of time to it.’
      • ‘Remember, this was at the height of the comedy boom, when every TV channel had a stand up show, all of it bland and sanitized for your protection.’
      • ‘I linger on stuff that I wouldn't normally choose - greyhound racing, charismatic religious stations, shopping channels, and so on.’
      • ‘In 1996, in alliance with computer giant Microsoft, it launched the cable news channel MSNBC.’
      • ‘Terrestrial channels have lost a total of an hour and a quarter a week in just two years.’
      • ‘In almost every country, the largest television channels, radio stations, and newspapers are owned either by a few families or by the government.’
      • ‘The shopping channels actively encourage viewers to feel close to the hosts.’
      • ‘Out of the eight main channels, five were showing sport.’
      • ‘But she admitted she became increasingly frustrated with him because he only wanted her to do minor things like change the TV channel or open the curtains.’
      • ‘He runs College Sports TV, an all college sports channel launched last year.’
      • ‘The proliferation of cable television channels has changed the dynamics of political advertising.’
  • 3A medium for communication or the passage of information.

    ‘they didn't apply through the proper channels’
    • ‘We take environmental crimes like this very seriously and will pursue all investigative channels open to us in our efforts to resolve this.’
    • ‘But he said he resented companies ignoring the proper channels and procedures for planning permission.’
    • ‘The channels for financing these services are convoluted.’
    • ‘With proper distribution channels in place, the guide is now famous throughout the UK and Europe.’
    • ‘They recommend a number of initiatives to strengthen the links and communication channels between the local authority and the local residents.’
    • ‘The counselling service is a confidential channel through which people begin to address problems.’
    • ‘The report is a much more dire and ominous assessment of the situation than has previously been forwarded through official channels, this source said.’
    • ‘You need to follow proper channels of communication.’
    • ‘He said the industry must integrate with the Irish Dairy Board using its distribution and marketing channels to avoid reliance on intervention.’
    • ‘We have to address that long-term decline and get our message across - not by lecturing but by communicating and using all the channels open to us.’
    • ‘From the beginning, when we read of Andrew telling his brother about Jesus, this has been the simple and natural channel of evangelism.’
    • ‘The countries will set a date for the second round of the working-group session through diplomatic channels, the source said.’
    • ‘There should be other channels of distribution.’
    • ‘It allowed different channels of customer communication - phone, internet, interactive TV and mobile - to be integrated.’
    • ‘The channels open to us were limited in number and scope, but we did our best to make the most of them.’
    • ‘At times, official channels could be abused, or at least stretched, in order to accommodate those in the position to take advantage of them.’
    • ‘The Minister was very supportive and has opened an ongoing channel of communication with us.’
    • ‘In his defence to the Senate, the Minister acknowledged problems in the communication channels within his own department.’
    • ‘A competitor might erode the outlet's competitive advantage by offering natural beef through traditional channels.’
    • ‘Now banks can offer wider and quicker channels of distribution and communication.’
    means, medium, instrument, mechanism, agency, vehicle, route, avenue, course, method, mode
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  • 4An electric circuit that acts as a path for a signal.

    ‘an audio channel’
    • ‘The signal channel must be void of electron traps induced by flaws in the design, processing, or even the silicon itself.’
    • ‘It produces more polygons and pixels per second, has twice the number of audio channels and a massive screen resolution.’
    • ‘It operates as a typical effects plug-in: insert it on an audio channel and send it some signal.’
    • ‘The unit's Digital Signal Processing offers two channels for optimal performance and clarity.’
    • ‘Normally two input and two output electrical channels are present on most sound cards, and one waveform is used for each channel.’
    1. 4.1Electronics The semiconductor region in a field-effect transistor that forms the main current path between the source and the drain.
      • ‘A conductive gate electrode is formed over a second dielectric layer overlying the channel region.’
      • ‘The change in inactivation time constant indicates that MTSET-modified channels were carrying current.’
      • ‘In either case, there was no outward current through the channels during the depolarization.’
      • ‘This is defined by the voltage on which drain current begins to flow through the channel of the transistor at an ON state.’
      • ‘The metal gate on a current transistor sits above the channel and silicon material.’
  • 5Biology
    A tubular passage or duct for liquid.

    • ‘She had an inherited heart defect and the surgeons were due to provide an artificial channel in her heart, but hours after arriving home she died in her mother's arms.’
    • ‘The lymphatic system comprises the spleen, thymus gland, lymph nodes, and lymphatic vessels or channels.’
    • ‘Blood vessel dilation is due to blockage of calcium channels in smooth muscle cells or inhibition of sodium-calcium ion exchange.’
    • ‘It works in a different way than the other medications so far developed and it works on stretch channels in the heart.’
    • ‘Sometimes, it happens because the blood vessels or lymphatic channels are missing to carry fluid away from the soft tissues.’


  • 1Direct toward a particular end or object.

    ‘advertisers channel money into radio’
    • ‘Some clinicians believe the money should be channelled towards improving the state of the nation's hospitals.’
    • ‘Some schemes work like a frequent flier program, where financial advisers receive bigger and better rewards, the more money they channel into specific investment funds.’
    • ‘Mr Rouse is chief executive of the Housing Corporation, which channels public money into social housing schemes.’
    • ‘This of course means that all these real dollars, instead of being channelled towards real wealth generation, will be squandered.’
    • ‘Clearly, too, it cannot be channelled towards the benefit of a specific group or sector of society at the expense of the broader swath of the population.’
    • ‘But if they had directed and channeled their energy like they have done tonight then the Walsall game wouldn't have been a competition.’
    • ‘He would, in fact, like to see the Common Agricultural Policy reformed so a bigger proportion of subsidy is channelled towards smaller farms and ones which use organic or environmentally friendly methods of production.’
    • ‘Thus banks now have excess funds as they are reluctant to channel money into the high-risk real sector, that owes a massive amount of bad debts to the banks.’
    • ‘Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, MP for Hull East, last week prompted renewed debate on channelling more public money to regions such as Yorkshire and the Humber.’
    • ‘After all, when politicians declare their concern for mentally ill people and promise more support, what they mean is that more public funds will be channelled into programs delivered by funded services and agencies.’
    • ‘In Colombia, 82 percent of our tax money is channeled toward national debt payments.’
    • ‘The savings made could be channeled towards Zambia's development, he said.’
    • ‘So impressed was the millionaire with the publication that he channelled his money into founding the Rockefeller Institute of Medicine in New York.’
    • ‘A reduction in military spending was also proposed so funds could be channeled toward countrywide primary education for all children.’
    • ‘He's got some serious proposals about channeling money towards anti-malaria medication, transportation infrastructure, clean water wells and the like.’
    • ‘In the 11 years it has been operating, funds from Europe have been channelled into projects with public and private partners and have created 70,000 jobs in the west of Scotland.’
    • ‘The government will maintain its latest fuel subsidy scheme which will channel direct cash aid to poor families once it raises fuel prices in October, this year.’
    • ‘The administration is actually channeling federal funds away from public schools and into private educational institutions.’
    • ‘At the same time, the International Olympic Committee has spent money from its Solidarity Fund, channeling some TV revenues to athletes in countries where they need help.’
    • ‘He said that for development to occur in Zambia, human resource has to be developed but currently little funds are channeled towards this sector.’
    1. 1.1 Guide along a particular route or through a specified medium.
      ‘many countries channel their aid through charities’
      • ‘Until 1881 wineries were not able to sell wine directly to the public but had to channel their produce through hotels, the country's only liquor outlets.’
      • ‘Heavy-duty vehicles moving hazardous substances and goods are to be channelled along specific corridors.’
      • ‘These elements channel the traffic in front of the auditorium along drives that lead into the site from the highway.’
      • ‘Once the effluent is pushed up it is then channelled towards the algae basin.’
      • ‘At present, teams receive about £6,000 a year from the Executive, channelled through police authorities.’
      • ‘He appealed to the EU not to channel the money through the banks but directly empower the miners through their associations.’
      • ‘In addition, the submarine ran its diesel engines, channeling the exhaust into the forward ballast tanks in an effort to force out more of the water and make the ship lighter.’
      • ‘After the arteries deliver blood to your arms and legs, your veins channel blood back to the heart using one-way valves.’
      • ‘But we have short-circuited this natural process by constructing hundreds of miles of levees along the river and channeling the rushing water into the Gulf of Mexico, where essential sediment is dumped.’
      • ‘All the proceeds from the profits of the video will be donated to the Afghan Children's Relief Fund and the money will be channelled through the relief agency, Trocaire.’
      • ‘The funding of these local tourist boards should be guaranteed and channelled through Local Enterprise Companies.’
      • ‘From the flyover, vertical pipes will channel the water into pits in the ground.’
      • ‘The millwheel was driven by water from the River Cole, which was channelled along an artificial leat.’
      • ‘For years Cottonwood Creek was channeled through a 96-inch pipe.’
      • ‘The government is known to think that the TV will be the main way in which the UK will access the Internet and it is holding back resources so they can be channelled through this medium.’
      • ‘Some activists criticized the United States for not channeling the money through the United Nations global AIDS fund.’
      • ‘Although the heavy through traffic will not now be channelled along the narrow residential roads of Marina Meadows where children will be playing this summer, light local traffic will be diverted there.’
      • ‘Other donations from the hotel group were channeled through the Accor office in Jakarta, to be delivered to victims through a television charity program.’
      • ‘As the water rushed down the river, the flood was channeled directly toward the classrooms.’
      • ‘And now the interstellar dust is channeled more efficiently towards the inner Solar System.’
      • ‘The air is raised by a bellows and on many instruments is brought under pressure in a reservoir; it is then channelled through the pipes by means of valves operated by the keyboard.’
      • ‘It's at this time of year, depending on the wind and the currents, that this weed is channelled towards our shores where it clogs the inlets and beaches until the currents shift again.’
      convey, transmit, transport, conduct, direct, guide, bear, carry, relay, pass on, transfer
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    2. 1.2 (of a person) serve as a medium for (a spirit)
      • ‘It's like Alice Cooper channelling Ray Charles in Elton John's living room with Black Sabbath at the mixing desk.’
      • ‘He also goes on to infer that he is channeling the spirit of Charlie Chaplin with the use of digital production.’
      • ‘Most of these references are to a series of books where a medium channels an entity named Seth.’
      • ‘He appears as a man who can channel spirits, and impersonates Elvis.’
      • ‘Sometimes I think I'm channelling others and don't even know it.’
      • ‘I think I'll channel her spirit, let her ask me a few questions that I know she would ask if she could.’
      • ‘Or perhaps I'm just channelling George Orwell because he's more fun than The Economics Of Contract And Tort Law.: P’
      • ‘The film's nadir is an interview with ‘Ramtha,’ a 35,000-year-old spirit channeled by a woman named JZ Knight.’
      • ‘A recorded message was played - purportedly of the medium channeling Monty's spirit.’
      • ‘He was an absolute creation, a man possessed with the dark spirit of the personas he was channeling.’
      • ‘Oddly enough the last witchcraft trial was held only fifty or so years ago after medium Helen Duncan revealed a ship had been torpedoed after channelling one of the dead seamen.’
      • ‘Since then I have channelled spirit guides for myself and others.’
      • ‘Afterwards he practically claimed to have been channelling the spirit of Kaufman, who died in 1984.’
      • ‘If, for some reason, these fantastic ideas don't work for you, just type whatever the hell comes to mind and tell people you're channeling Virginia Woolf and experimenting with stream-of-consciousness.’
    3. 1.3 Emulate or seem to be inspired by.
      ‘Meg Ryan plays Avery as if she's channeling Nicole Kidman’
      • ‘I'm not going to be channeling my husband.’
      • ‘There are even moments on this disc where she channels the energy and spirit of the late, great Bob Marley.’
      • ‘"Are we channeling Audrey tonight?"’
      • ‘Panettiere channels her best teenage Elizabeth Taylor (National Velvet) with wide, expressive eyes and a quivering lip to signal imminent emotion.’
      • ‘Martin Short practically channeled the puckish, meticulous interviewer on SCTV.’
      • ‘Only the future that Gall channeled in her album 1968 is more of a retro mishmash here.’
      • ‘However, a few times, I could hear Kareem channeling Roger Murdock.’
      • ‘That means more to take care of and I've channeled about as much of Martha Stewart as I can handle.’
      • ‘Bernard Sumner, who assumed singing duties in New Order, sounds a lot like he's channeling Ian Curtis on this track.’
      • ‘Together we're leafing through the final proof copy, and I'm mesmerised by the rich colours, those magical prints, the way Rhodes has channelled inspiration gleaned from world travel.’
      • ‘I had assumed the place would be overrun with Inklings fans and legions of folks trying to channel Frodo and Co. at the Prancing Pony.’
      • ‘By mewling out loud like I got a kidney stone and I'm fixin' to die, I am channeling the spirit of Johnson.’
      • ‘Tilly delivers a particularly hilarious, overwrought performance, apparently channelling Courtney Love.’
      • ‘In singing a duet of "Unforgettable," for example, he would channel both Nat King Cole and Natalie Cole.’
      • ‘But in Dream Cruise he's channeling vaudeville.’
      • ‘But before you take on the hordes of sixth-graders channeling Danny Kass at your local pipe, you need to master some basics.’
      • ‘Perhaps Nick was channelling Jerry Garcia?’
      • ‘I thought Peel might actually be channelling the Devil.’
      • ‘Auto plant workers in east Ohio heard Hillary Clinton seemingly channel John Edwards.’
      • ‘Suddenly I am channelling words from a bygone era.’
  • 2usually as adjective channeledForm channels or grooves in.

    ‘the lower jawbone is deeply channeled’
    • ‘The new version has a double-headlight arrangement and a deeply channelled bonnet which looks pretty bizarre, muscular flanks at the rear and a rather dull rear-end marred by a protruding skirt.’
    • ‘The pottery is usually plain and dark in colour, sometimes with channelled decoration and moulded handles.’
    • ‘Take care to swim towards the exit point from the east (keep the exit on your right) so as to avoid the heavily channelled bedrock to the west of the exit.’
    • ‘The channelled whelk is almost as big, and may be distinguished by the deep, channelled grooves which follow the whorls of the shell.’
    hollow out, flute
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Middle English: from Old French chanel, from Latin canalis pipe, groove, channel from canna reed (see cane). Compare with canal.