Definition of funicular in English:



  • 1(of a railroad, especially one on a mountainside) operating by cable with ascending and descending cars counterbalanced.

    • ‘It is built on seven hills and sits around a beautiful harbour in the quaintly named Puddefjord, best viewed from the funicular railway that takes you more than 1,000 ft above the city.’
    • ‘A funicular railway scales the mountain to the jumping-off point for the sledge run, which winds five kilometres downhill back to the railway terminus.’
    • ‘Those inside the funicular railway, trying to make their way up to the 3029m summit station of the glacier, are likely to have been keen young skiers and snow-boarders.’
    • ‘I could have descended the hill by funicular railway, only there seemed little point queueing to squeeze myself into an overcrowded carriage for the one minute journey.’
    • ‘A few yards into the trees we came to a single bright-yellow car of a funicular railway.’
    • ‘The enormous growth of tourism in the Alps means funicular railway and cable car operators seek to transport far more visitors than their operations were originally intended for.’
    • ‘Start from the car park under Cairn Gorm, with its new funicular railway, which is still the cause of much debate.’
    • ‘The big news this year is, of course, the opening of Cairngorm's high-speed funicular railway, a facility that, as far as skiers is concerned, is long overdue.’
    • ‘He left because he was alarmed at the environmental damage being done by the 1.2 mile funicular railway being built to within 500 feet of the Cairngorm summit.’
    • ‘The Government decision means the green light for major work to refurbish Pier Hill and provide a new link through a lift or funicular railway from the High Street to the seafront.’
    • ‘A group of architects will this week unveil their visions for the future of Edinburgh's Royal Mile - including pedestrianisation, trams and a funicular railway.’
    • ‘In the other direction from Poncebos, a bizarre (and ecologically controversial) funicular railway tunnels through the rock up to the sleepy village of Bulnes.’
    • ‘Take the funicular railway up Penang Hill, past the old colonial-style bungalows, to see the magnificent views from the top.’
    • ‘As the heat fades from the Italian summer, now's the ideal time to find out why, by taking advantage of the local airport and catching the funicular railway up to Bergamo's medieval citadel.’
    • ‘Requiring a more convenient mode of transportation, the idea of a railway was broached in 1897, but it wasn't until 1924 that the funicular railway to the top of Flagstaff Hill was built.’
    • ‘Cairngorm is hoping the £15m funicular railway, which opened last year, will help open the mountain to leisure pursuits other than skiing.’
    • ‘If you opt for the mountain's new, controversial funicular railway, then you are probably going to find yourself trapped inside a glass visitors' centre, barred from even setting foot on Cairngorm.’
    • ‘A ride on the oldest funicular railway in Asia, to the Victoria Peak, commonly known as the Peak, was spectacular.’
    • ‘First, it required a metro back into town (nearest metro stop just over a kilometre away) then a train out north, then a tram up a very steep hill, then a funicular railway to the top.’
    • ‘So, in April 1884, they opened the first of a series of funicular railways, or elevadores, to tackle the gradients.’
  • 2Relating to a rope or its tension.


  • A cable railroad, especially one on a mountainside, in which ascending and descending cars are counterbalanced.

    • ‘Between lakes and mountains, this unusual funicular railway you to explore the Jura landscape.’
    • ‘These funiculars are listed on the World Monument Watch list of endangered heritage.’
    • ‘The Tyrolean summer funiculars take you right in there - right into the heart of the exciting Tyrolean Mountains.’
    • ‘Because cars are not allowed in the District, this funicular is the best way to get up there.’
    • ‘Other types of funiculars may utilize only one passenger car that is hoisted up and down the hillside or mountain.’
    • ‘This one is the hardest to find of the three funiculars but is the most interesting.’
    • ‘Dozens of funiculars are billed as the world's shortest, steepest or shortest-and-steepest railway.’
    • ‘Monday The Mountaineering Council of Scotland adds to the furore over the controversial Cairngorm funicular which already has many skiers and conservationists up in arms.’
    • ‘The Red Cross said the rest were trapped inside the narrow two - carriage funicular at Kitzsteinhorn, south west of Salzburg.’
    • ‘The two other funiculars in Lisbon are Bica and Lavra.’
    • ‘The £15 million funicular has also soaked up a large proportion of the taxpayers' money available for supporting Highland developments.’
    • ‘The funicular runs coincide with the Line A and Line B minibus rides into and from the old town centre.’
    • ‘Visit the Cable Car Museum to see how the funicular helped in the development of this city.’
    • ‘As with the case of the Cairn Gorm funicular debacle, this Scottish Executive obviously sees development as a higher priority than conservation: yet another manifesto promise out the window.’
    • ‘The first idea to build a funicular is more than 100 years old, from the time when cities like Graz, Zagreb or Budapest realised a similar solution.’
    • ‘They drew the inspiration from the inauguration of the first funicular of Mt. Vesuvius.’
    • ‘Engineers have built funiculars and incline railways for underground travel, too, such as into caves or mines.’
    • ‘The resulting funicular depends on the depth of masonry above the voussoirs at the crown of the arch.’
    • ‘This page lists some of the funiculars, inclines, and counterbalances that have operated in Northern California.’
    • ‘Just one day earlier things were very different, with hordes of skiers and snowboarders snaking back into the car park, queuing for a trip on the brand new funicular that opened on Christmas Eve after years of planning and controversy.’


Mid 17th century (in the sense of or like a cord or thread): from Latin funiculus (diminutive of funis rope) + -ar.