Definition of funnel in US English:



  • 1A tube or pipe that is wide at the top and narrow at the bottom, used for guiding liquid or powder into a small opening.

    • ‘The pitch was warmed and poured into a glass funnel, with the bottom of the steam sealed.’
    • ‘They were shaped differently, more cylindrical, with longer, more narrow funnels at their bases.’
    • ‘Yet Rome has consistently rowed back the development of liturgy as embodied in a particular time, place and culture and attempted to force language and liturgy through a narrow funnel.’
    • ‘Approximately 5 ml of this suspension, corresponding to 200 mg of cells, were dispersed onto a nylon membrane using a Buchner funnel to remove liquid medium.’
    • ‘Look ahead of the airplane and imagine your flightpath as a narrow, rectangular funnel with the runway at the end.’
    • ‘Lyman also has an accessory called the ‘Powder Pal’ that combines the scale pan with a powder funnel.’
    • ‘The fumigation and oxygenation apparatus comprises a large stone jar with a glass funnel and a pipe leading into the room.’
    • ‘Transfer this liquid into a funnel lined with a coffee filter placed over the opening of the culture jar to return the excess fluid to the container.’
    • ‘He referred to the fact that he also knows at the present time that the cavity opening was like a funnel, narrow at the bottom and wide at the top.’
    • ‘I then placed a 5-gallon bucket of water with a teaspoon of dish washing liquid under the funnel.’
    • ‘During the gravity filtration the filtrate passes through the filter medium under the combined forces of gravity and capillary attraction between the liquid and the funnel stem.’
    • ‘The grass spider, though, hides at the edge of its sprawling web, lurking inside a silken cave: the hole at the bottom of the funnel.’
    • ‘As you lower the handle, station three's case rises into the powder funnel and the case-actuated powder measure drops the correct charge.’
    • ‘However, in an emergency there was a small funnel attached to a tube down the back of the plane, with a short draw curtain around it.’
    • ‘As we walked inside, we saw Dennis coming down the stairs carrying a long tube with a large funnel attached to it.’
    • ‘There are three different powder funnels which actuate the measure only if a case is present.’
    • ‘The kit contains test tubes, pipettes, funnels and other lab materials necessary for multiple experiments and activities.’
    • ‘It is a case-actuated system similar to one used by Hornady where a funnel inside the powder die is pushed up by contact with the primed case.’
    • ‘This device acts as a funnel, guiding a woman's urine to the relief tube.’
    • ‘The range of ideas explored should feel like a funnel, starting off wide, and narrowing as you go along.’
    tube, pipe, channel, conduit
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    1. 1.1 A thing resembling a funnel in shape or function.
      ‘a funnel of light fell from a circular ceiling’
      ‘they were close to the middle of the cloud funnel’
      • ‘The wind blows in different directions within the cloud and forms a funnel.’
      • ‘Four dark shapes, menacing funnels belching spark-laced smoke thundered down the rolling plains, the ground churning to dust underneath their cruel wheels.’
      • ‘A sea funnel, taking the shape and appearance of an under-water tornado grew in size, swallowing up everything that came close enough to it.’
      • ‘It was first spotted around 10.45 in the morning and early observers described it as a rotating funnel of cloud about thirty feet in diameter.’
      • ‘He was getting closer to the square now, and his eyes still saw spots from the funnel of light he had followed to the heavens.’
  • 2A metal chimney on a ship or steam engine.

    • ‘They repainted the ship's funnel and lifeboats, changed its name, then sailed to a rendezvous with a second tanker and transferred most of the cargo before getting clean away.’
    • ‘It shows the entire ship, smoke billowing from her four funnels as she leaves Queenstown bound for New York.’
    • ‘The funnel runs down through the middle of the ship to the engine room and you can place your hand on it where it comes through the middle deck and feel the heat.’
    • ‘From a distance, you can also make out the ship's two enormous funnels, each emblazoned on both sides with a huge letter ‘S ‘set in a laurel wreath.’’
    • ‘This vessel with her two stub funnels is considered to be a relatively small ship compared with the 28000-ton ships which regularly come to East London.’
    • ‘Sweltering mist of changing shades slithered through the funnels and fissures of the ship, constantly spewing out balls of effusive film containing radioactive particles and radiant flares.’
    • ‘He attempted to enter the ship by the funnel but nearly went up in a puff of smoke due to the non fire retardant Santa suit.’
    • ‘Her symptoms are much milder, certainly, but Christopher has a fear of the colour yellow; Hayley has a phobia about cogs and ship funnels.’
    • ‘The bright new paintwork on the ship's funnel and wheelhouse stand proud against the murky grey waters of the River Clyde, like a symbol of hope amidst the flotsam and jetsam.’
    • ‘Gigliotti stationed two officers with a measuring pole atop the ship winged funnel and, with help from helicopters circling overheard, guided the boat under the bridge.’
    • ‘Being a modern ship, the funnel is just a decorative cover for an exhaust pipe from the engine.’
    • ‘Vosper Thorneycroft in Portsmouth is building the bow sections, masts and funnels for all six ships.’
    • ‘The sea boiled and on every side ships were stripped of their funnels and superstructure by the blast wave that hit the shoreline a split-second later.’
    • ‘The dense smoke on USS Yorktown was caused when a bomb hit the ship's funnel which temporarily knocked out her boilers.’
    • ‘These are successfully reinterpreted as curved bodies rather like ship's funnels, a parallel made more explicit in places by marine details apparent in air-outlets and ventilation grills.’
    • ‘This ship had four funnels, with smoke coming out of them, and looked magnificent as she glided through the ocean water, with a warm sunset in the background.’
    • ‘The older ships had their own character, with their funnels painted in the line's colour.’
    • ‘The cruiser lurched under the hail of fire - two shots slammed into the wheels and funnels of the strange ship, shattering wood and rending metal until the sleek machine of death became a tangled mess of bloody scrap.’
    • ‘Through the snow outside, he could see the image of the ship's funnel against the sky.’
    • ‘From there the Queen was taken to one of the ship's giant swimming pools where she was presented with a model of the ship's funnel by representatives of the St Nazaire shipyard in France where QM2 was built.’
    chimney, flue, vent, shaft
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  • 1with object and adverbial of direction Guide or channel (something) through or as if through a funnel.

    ‘some $12.8 billion was funneled through the Marshall Plan’
    • ‘Funds, clothing, food, etc. are not given directly to the poor, rather they are funneled through the recipient government.’
    • ‘Is there any better evidence that the rich in this country are funneled through one legal system while the poor get another?’
    • ‘Indeed, when junk bonds and risky securitization issues go wanting, such risky loans are increasingly funneled through asset-backed conduit programs.’
    • ‘It took an hour or more for the audience to all get in, as they were funneled through single file at the entrance.’
    • ‘Much of the information about Iraq's alleged WMD programs was funneled through the INC - information that has been universally discredited.’
    • ‘Much of the money was funnelled through Liberal-friendly advertising firms.’
    • ‘Do members remember the scandal when it was revealed that taxpayers' money was funnelled through a public relations firm to get people to lobby members of Parliament?’
    • ‘When calves are fed milk it is funnelled through the oesophageal groove to the true stomach by-passing the rumen.’
    • ‘The really bad students are funnelled through there to even a more simplified program.’
    • ‘Decades of economic stagnation and the fact that most resources are funneled through the state restrict people's opportunities to achieve social and economic mobility.’
    • ‘This excitation energy is funneled through a series of molecules into a reaction center where it is converted to chemical energy.’
    • ‘This money was then funneled through a series of bank accounts in Gibraltar, Switzerland and Monaco, all controlled by a London lawyer who had performed no work for the project.’
    • ‘His prose gets its jumpiness and rhythm from the minds of characters it is funneled through, and the works are full of often-obscure references to people, places and literature of the past and present.’
    • ‘At that time, Hekmatyar was a particular favourite in Washington and received the lion's share of the support being funnelled through Pakistan's military intelligence agency.’
    • ‘It's difficult if not impossible to evaluate a company's investment performance if its investments are funneled through holding companies, making them hidden from view.’
    • ‘The water was funnelled through a gap left to allow access to the fields for farm vehicles leading to widespread flooding of nearby homes.’
    • ‘Assimilationists consider religion the site where core American values are funneled through the socialization of religion.’
    • ‘Even when Congress orders a study, the funding doesn't come directly from the legislature; it is usually funneled through an executive agency - one which might be opposed to the study and hold up the funding.’
    • ‘The information was funneled through counterrevolutionary organizations and their press in the United States, especially in Miami.’
    • ‘No single company will have an exposure of more than £60m as claims against acts of terrorism are funnelled through a special collective insurance system, backed by the government.’
    channel, guide, feed, direct, convey, move, pass
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    1. 1.1no object , with adverbial of direction Move or be guided through or as if through a funnel.
      ‘the wind funneled down through the valley’
      • ‘That emphasis has been funneled down to individual papers and newsrooms through a variety of performance requirements, marketing programs and new product strategies.’
      • ‘He got his fair share of midfield possession, regularly funnelled back to help the defence and still managed to help himself to two great points.’
      • ‘The cavern funnelled down to a gloomy interior with a floor at 16m and seemed ideal for the purpose.’
      • ‘Up there it's so quiet, and somehow even the wind was gentler now that it wasn't being funnelled down a narrow valley.’
      • ‘And the wonder of computers allows that data to be funneled down to specific physician I.D. numbers, which then get driven down to each rep in weekly reports.’
      • ‘The wind is blowing fresh out of the east, funneling up the river, and the tide is ebbing hard, setting up a steep chop.’
      • ‘Despite that, the early pace was electric and a pounding stream of runners funnelled from the main arena through a tight gap in the crowd and up the fell.’
      • ‘So the energy kind of gets funneled into a specific area.’
      • ‘The squalls abated and visibility improved, the valley funnelling down to Osmotherley cleared of mist and we set off that way.’
      • ‘Chohung Bank workers cut the ribbon to begin a series of strikes yesterday morning with their struggle against the government's final decision to sell its stake in the bank to recover public funds funneled into it.’
      • ‘We have identified traces of an accelerant used within the living accommodation doorway which funnelled upstairs.’
      • ‘They'll make it physical, use to their benefit the fact that the Gaelic Grounds is a small pitch and attempt to force Kerry to play a tight game funnelled down the middle.’
      • ‘In the distance, a vast flock of jackdaws funnels upwards from the trees and lazily circling, follows the fleeting sunlight over my head, uttering in unison their loud ‘chack-chack’ contact calls on the way to roost.’
      • ‘And then, with time almost spent, with Southampton doing the wrong thing for the first time in the afternoon, funnelling back in defence, they invited disaster.’
      • ‘As Westmeath won their Leinster title a few people around Ventry realised the draw had Kerry and Westmeath funnelling down to meet in a semi-final.’
      • ‘Smith did the groundwork, forcing the Hearts defence to funnel back in an effort to cut out the danger, a task they did not perform very effectively, given that Wood's shot flew just a foot or so past the beaten Niemi's left-hand post.’
      • ‘The problems have been caused by traffic funnelling down into a contraflow involving just one lane in each direction.’
      • ‘But the most sublime and beautiful picture was to come, of a wooded valley funnelling down to a strip of green grass flood-plain and on this the River Rye meandering to the abbey.’
      • ‘A grey heron was disturbed on its lunchtime patrol, a raptor lumbered over on heavy broad wings, a soft warm wind funnelled up the valley.’
      • ‘Earlier, strong gusts of wind had come funnelling through the valley and it felt for a while like they might threaten to disrupt proceedings.’
    2. 1.2no object Assume the shape of a funnel by widening or narrowing at the end.
      ‘the crevice funneled out’
      • ‘All the birds funneled through a narrow corridor and crossed the Equator within a ten-day period in early October.’
      • ‘Huge swathes of important streets, like Third Avenue - a main artery on the East Side - would simply be shut down unexpectedly during prime hours, and all cars funneled through a narrow point.’
      • ‘As our sleepiness dissipated into the dank pre-dawn air, we funneled out of the darkness into the foreboding cigarette smoke-filled briefing room.’
      • ‘The sea outside is moderate, but with the geo to funnel the waves in and the caves funnelling further, there is a powerful surge between the narrow walls.’
      • ‘At river crossings, lakes, or narrow peninsulas, trails converge and funnel towards and away from caribou calving grounds and summer range.’
      • ‘Indeed, the only disappointment in the hearts of Rovers fans as they funnelled out the gate was that there were not more goals.’


Late Middle English: apparently via Old French from Provençal fonilh, from late Latin fundibulum, from Latin infundibulum, from infundere, from in- ‘into’ + fundere ‘pour’.