Definition of culvert in US English:



  • A tunnel carrying a stream or open drain under a road or railroad.

    • ‘There are also plans to dig a culvert to carry water if the drainage ditch is full but he doubted there was enough room to dig one within the width of the road.’
    • ‘However, the size and weight of concrete box culverts can make transportation and handling a problem.’
    • ‘They also have to cut several miles of drain, installing several large culverts along the system.’
    • ‘He directed the officials to complete the construction of culverts and link roads and ensure the proper drinking water supply.’
    • ‘Earth pressure distribution around concrete box culverts has been the subject of a few studies.’
    • ‘The project also required construction of a 29.5-foot fill over an old concrete box culvert.’
    • ‘It is asphalted and the gradient runs south to north up to the village temple, except near the village pond where a culvert has raised the road surface, upsetting the natural gradient.’
    • ‘What appears to be the problem to us is the size of a culvert underneath the road into the ornamental pond.’
    • ‘According to the 1996 Highway Road Humps Regulations they must not be built on or within 25 metres of bridges, subways, culverts or tunnels.’
    • ‘These criminal acts will retard progress and push up costs of building the road as the demolished culverts will have to be replaced.’
    • ‘The figure also shows a little tensile stress at the roof center of larger culverts.’
    • ‘Aggravating the problems is a pair of culverts through Provincial Road 205, which have been set at the wrong level.’
    • ‘A nearby culvert, meant to carry away the sewage, is totally damaged.’
    • ‘Variables considered in the analysis were culvert size, location, and wall thickness.’
    • ‘Thus, culverts stabilized with snow are not needed when the stream is already frozen solid.’
    • ‘A culvert has also been opened up below one set of steps and all it would take is for one child to trip and fall head first into it.’
    • ‘A culvert stabilized with snow was the first structure tested for small streams.’
    • ‘The South Fork of the Elkhorn River goes under the road in a culvert.’
    • ‘The tanks, roads, culverts and lagoon opening have all suffered through the lack of maintenance.’
    • ‘Drivers often don't even realize when they cross streams, nor that the culverts built to carry those streams might pose problems to endangered salmon and trout species.’
    channel, conduit, watercourse, trough
    View synonyms


[with object]usually be culverted
  • Channel (a stream or drain) through a culvert.

    • ‘Where I grew up in Ohio, we saw crawdads, or crayfish, in the culverted, sewage-scented ‘creeks’ and would no sooner eat one than we would kitty litter.’
    • ‘Sprawl and malls are filling in the vacant lots and woodlands where we used to play; rivers and streams are culverted, channelized, and barren; and the coasts, lakesides, and mountains are spotted with trophy homes and locked gates.’
    • ‘And during the next 12 months up to six are likely to be culverted and filled in.’
    • ‘I have agreed details to culverting streams, adjacent to the M4 motorway, to allow the canal to be extended over these watercourses.’
    • ‘Ironically, all that culverting work bounced back in his face, literally, for when we did have a heavy storm, the overflow went the other way and flushed several thousand pounds' worth of rainbow trout into the beck.’
    • ‘The flood would not have occurred if the stream had not been culverted or if a culvert of sufficient size had been installed.’
    • ‘The plans include culverting part of Willowbeck and the agency has now withdrawn its objection, saying it is satisfied the development ‘will not have a significant effect on flooding in Northallerton’.’
    • ‘She has happy recollections of childhood life in the area and the freedom to roam before rivers were culverted and open land was developed.’
    • ‘But since the city wants to use water diverted from Bradford Beck - which is culverted under the city centre - experts have been working on ways of making sure the river's quality is up to scratch.’
    • ‘He made his report following a motion that the stream be culverted.’
    • ‘The river is now culverted beneath the largely Victorian town.’
    • ‘Or it might have happened later, when the creek was culverted and the woods cut down to make way for subdivisions and shopping malls.’
    • ‘Talking to the engineers, environmentalists and politicians responsible, I realised that here, where council engineers want to culvert more of it, we are ten years behind the times.’
    • ‘Of course, if I got my planning permission, I'd have to divert yon beck and culvert it away from your place.’


Late 18th century: of unknown origin.