Definition of tunnel in English:

tunnel

noun

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

    • ‘There are deep gashes in the roads; some are still blocked by landslides and a major road tunnel to the town has collapsed.’
    • ‘The Limerick South Ring Road, including the tunnel, will allow traffic to bypass Limerick city by linking the Docks Road with the Ennis Road.’
    • ‘A Swindon engineering company is taking a lead role in the design of a road tunnel beneath 5,000-year-old Stonehenge.’
    • ‘A tunnel has been built leading to the new underground ‘bat hotel’, which has tiered accommodation from which bats can hang.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They are building a road tunnel through the area.’
    • ‘Detective Constable Ian Thornton and PC Kim Wandless tracked Wood down to a tunnel under King's Road and he was arrested.’
    • ‘New roads and tunnels have been built and public transport modernised.’
    • ‘He conceded, however, that the toll might cause people to avoid the tunnel and use local roads instead.’
    • ‘Authorities abroad are increasingly opting for road tunnels.’
    • ‘Local villagers cut a tunnel road through the mountain and named it Guoliang Cave.’
    • ‘A bank of trees here or a cycleway there makes no odds if you're building two major new roads and a massive tunnel.’
    • ‘We have a toll road here that goes through a tunnel under the river.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘As I went into the tunnel at Finchley Road I switched off all the interior lights.’
    • ‘Norway is home to the longest and the deepest road tunnels in the world.’
    • ‘Drivers must now call the police immediately if their vehicles break down on elevated roads, tunnels and bridges across the Huangpu River.’
    • ‘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.’
    underground passage, subterranean passage
    underpass, subway, hole, burrow
    shaft, gallery
    mine, sap
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1An underground passage dug by a burrowing animal.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Burrow tunnels were examined each day; in 1999, younger nestlings left the supplements uneaten.’
      • ‘Small mounds are created when moles burrow deep or tunnel under solid objects such as tree roots or sidewalks.’
      • ‘Their burrows were normally underground, in long tunnels.’
      • ‘They line the burrow tunnel with pebbles and shell fragments.’
      • ‘Animal tunnels incorporated into the design will also allow local wildlife to cross.’
      • ‘It is not known if all the burrow nesting species excavate the tunnels or if some use tunnels dug by rodents or other animals.’
      • ‘Many fungi are found in soil and often fostered by small ground animals and their feces-filled tunnels.’
    2. 1.2[in singular]A passage in a sports stadium by which players enter or leave the field.
      • ‘At 3: 25, Lynch leads the rest of the defensive backs out of the tunnel and onto the field for pre-game warm-ups.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘That incident briefly flared up again as the players entered the tunnel after the game.’
      • ‘Both sets of mascots click-clack out of the tunnel holding their players by the hands and then line up.’
      • ‘Wenger claimed he didn't see the scuffles between opposing players and coaches in the stadium tunnel after the match.’

verb

  • 1[no object] Dig or force a passage underground or through something.

    ‘he tunneled under the fence’
    ‘the insect tunnels its way out of the plant’
    • ‘The site is dangerous and our concern is that they are not experts in tunnelling and we are genuinely concerned about their safety.’
    • ‘The weevil's eggs are deposited inside the banana tissue and once hatched, they tunnel through the corm for feeding and growth.’
    • ‘In recent years, badgers have tunnelled into 52 ancient monuments on Salisbury Plain.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The catheter is tunneled under the skin and enters a large vein and then is threaded into the superior vena cava.’
    • ‘Mr Hutton had suggested tunnelling through Bradford, but this would prove too costly, especially as Bradford Beck would have to be diverted.’
    • ‘Mr Harris revealed that, despite the ban, he had been part of a group that continued tunnelling through an undiscovered route nicknamed George.’
    • ‘The machine for tunnelling the underground section will be imported from either Japan, Germany or the United Kingdom.’
    • ‘He's got a nice big backyard to roam through, with ivy to tunnel through and a couple of dirt patches to dig in.’
    • ‘They look to tunnel through corporate networks through mass emails.’
    • ‘Ancient burial sites across Salisbury Plain could soon be fenced off to prevent badgers from tunnelling through the archaeology.’
    • ‘Rescuers tunnelled into the wreckage taking great care to prevent further collapses.’
    • ‘The snow was so thick, he was able to tunnel through it without it collapsing on him until he started clearing the hood.’
    • ‘A tube approximately 24 inches in length is tunneled under the skin into the peritoneum.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘If you tunnel underground and travel in a straight line, you cover less distance.’
    • ‘Gophers tunnel through the ground to eat tender bulbs and shoots.’
    • ‘Electric transport tunnelled underground as well as overground: the first ‘tube’ was built in London in 1887-90.’
    • ‘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.’
    dig, dig one's way, burrow
    excavate, mine, bore, drill
    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 photon tunneling, the intensity of evanescent light is reduced when the lasing particle is approached by a non-lasing one.’
    • ‘In rare cases where a quantum mechanical effect called tunneling occurs in the reaction, deuterium isotope effects of 20 or more have been observed.’
    • ‘They are restricted to orbit given atoms, and they can only move from one to the other by quantum tunneling.’
    • ‘Eventually, quantum confinement effects and tunneling currents dominate the device design.’

Phrases

  • light at the end of the tunnel

    • A long-awaited indication that a period of hardship or adversity is nearing an end.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We are able to work alone for long periods of time, if necessary, with no light at the end of the tunnel.’
      • ‘There is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel, but it is still a long way off yet.’
      • ‘And with no light at the end of the tunnel, pressure on the government's Debt Management Office will grow.’
      • ‘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 no light at the end of this awful dark, painful tunnel.’
      • ‘It has, at times, been difficult but he can see a light at the end of the tunnel now.’
      • ‘They do not see the light at the end of the tunnel as far as their lives go.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation:

tunnel

/ˈtənl/