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[chan-l] /ˈtʃæn l/
the bed of a stream, river, or other waterway.
Nautical. a navigable route between two bodies of water.
the deeper part of a waterway.
a wide strait, as between a continent and an island.
a course into which something may be directed:
He hoped to direct the conversation to a new channel.
a route through which anything passes or progresses:
channels of trade.
channels, the specific, prescribed, or official course or means of communication:
In an emergency he was able to reach the governor without going through channels.
a groove or furrow.
a means of access:
He considers the Senate a channel to the White House.
  1. a flute in a column, especially one having no fillet between it and other flutes.
  2. any of the prominent vertical grooves in a triglyph.
(in jazz or popular music) a bridge.
a frequency band of sufficient width for one- or two-way communication from or to a transmitter used for television, radio, CB radio, telephone, or telegraph communication.
Computers. a path for the transfer of signals or data within a computer or between a computer and its peripheral equipment.
Digital Technology.
  1. feed (def 23):
    Learn how to create your own web channel.
  2. a web page or website that distributes frequently updated content by means of a feed:
    Subscribe to my YouTube channel.
either of the two signals in stereophonic or any single signal in multichannel sound recording and reproduction.
Cell Biology. a transient opening made by a protein embedded in a cell membrane, permitting passage of specific ions or molecules into or out of the cell:
calcium channel.
a tubular passage for liquids or fluids.
Building Trades.
  1. any structural member, as one of reinforced concrete, having the form of three sides of a rectangle.
  2. a number of such members:
    channel in 100-foot lengths.
  3. channel iron.
verb (used with object), channeled, channeling or (especially British) channelled, channelling.
to convey through or as through a channel:
He channeled the information to us.
to direct toward or into some particular course:
to channel one's interests.
to excavate as a channel.
to form a channel in; groove.
verb (used without object), channeled, channeling or (especially British) channelled, channelling.
to become marked by a channel:
Soft earth has a tendency to channel during a heavy rain.
Origin of channel1
1250-1300; Middle English chanel < Old French < Latin canālis waterpipe; see canal
Related forms
channeler; especially British, channeller, noun
multichanneled, adjective
multichannelled, adjective
nonchanneled, adjective
unchanneled, adjective
unchannelled, adjective
Can be confused
Chanel, channel, charnel.
8. trough, gash, cut. 19. route, direct, steer.


or chain wale, chain-wale

[chan-l] /ˈtʃæn l/
a horizontal timber or ledge built outboard from the side of a sailing vessel to spread shrouds and backstays outward.
First recorded in 1760-70; variant of chain wale Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for channel
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Martin smiled cynically as he let his thoughts drift along this channel.

    Dust Mr. and Mrs. Haldeman-Julius
  • On the other side of the channel a vast literature on the subject has sprung up.

    In the Heart of Vosges Matilda Betham-Edwards
  • Next morning, however, we saw her at anchor in the channel that leads to Kingston.

    Ned Myers James Fenimore Cooper
  • This was blocking the channel, and there was no more chance for getting off in that way.

    Ned Myers James Fenimore Cooper
  • Agreeing to this plan they crossed the channel and camped at Klu-quilth-coose.

British Dictionary definitions for channel


a broad strait connecting two areas of sea
the bed or course of a river, stream, or canal
a navigable course through a body of water
(often pl) a means or agency of access, communication, etc: to go through official channels
a course into which something can be directed or moved: a new channel of thought
  1. a band of radio frequencies assigned for a particular purpose, esp the broadcasting of a television signal
  2. a path for an electromagnetic signal: a stereo set has two channels
  3. a thin semiconductor layer between the source and drain of a field-effect transistor, the conductance of which is controlled by the gate voltage
a tubular or trough-shaped passage for fluids
a groove or flute, as in the shaft of a column
  1. a path along which data can be transmitted between a central processing unit and one or more peripheral devices
  2. one of the lines along the length of a paper tape on which information can be stored in the form of punched holes
short for channel iron
verb -nels, -nelling, -nelled (US) -nels, -neling, -neled
to provide or be provided with a channel or channels; make or cut channels in (something)
(transitive) to guide into or convey through a channel or channels: information was channelled through to them
to serve as a medium through whom the spirit of (a person of a former age) allegedly communicates with the living
(transitive) to exhibit the traits of (another person) in one’s actions
(transitive) to form a groove or flute in (a column, etc)
Derived Forms
channeller, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Old French chanel, from Latin canālis pipe, groove, conduit; see canal


(nautical) a flat timber or metal ledge projecting from the hull of a vessel above the chainplates to increase the angle of the shrouds
Word Origin
C18: variant of earlier chainwale; see chain, wale1 (planking)


the Channel, short for English Channel
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for channel

early 14c., "bed of running water," from Old French chanel "bed of a waterway; tube, pipe, gutter," from Latin canalis "groove, channel, waterpipe" (see canal). Given a broader, figurative sense 1530s (of information, commerce, etc.); meaning "circuit for telegraph communication" (1848) probably led to that of "band of frequency for radio or TV signals" (1928). The Channel Islands are the French Îles Anglo-Normandes.


1590s, "to wear channels in," from channel (n.). Meaning "convey in a channel" is from 1640s. Related: Channeled; channeling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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channel in Science
  1. A specified frequency band for the transmission and reception of electromagnetic signals, as for television signals.

  2. The part of a field effect transistor, usually U-shaped, through which current flows from the source to the drain. See more at field effect transistor.

  3. A pathway through a protein molecule in a cell membrane that modulates the electrical potential across the membrane by controlling the passage of small inorganic ions into and out of the cell.

  4. The bed or deepest part of a river or harbor.

  5. A large strait, especially one that connects two seas.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for channel



A vein, usually in the crook of the elbow or the instep, favored for the injection of narcotics; main line (1950s+ Narcotics)


  1. To lower the body of a car by opening channels around parts of the frame: Johnny Slash, the punk in wraparound shades, lusts for a chopped and channeled '49 Merc (1950s+ Hot rodders)
  2. To be a medium of communication for a unbodied spirit: Just some guy she channels for. Don't worry, the viewers love him (1980s+)
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with channel


In addition to the idiom beginning with channel also see: go through channels
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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