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tunnel

[tuhn-l]
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noun
  1. an underground passage.
  2. a passageway, as for trains or automobiles, through or under an obstruction, as a city, mountain, river, harbor, or the like.
  3. an approximately horizontal gallery or corridor in a mine.
  4. the burrow of an animal.
  5. Dialect. a funnel.
verb (used with object), tun·neled, tun·nel·ing or (especially British) tun·nelled, tun·nel·ling.
  1. to construct a passageway through or under: to tunnel a mountain.
  2. to make or excavate (a tunnel or underground passage): to tunnel a passage under a river.
  3. to move or proceed by or as if by boring a tunnel: The river tunneled its way through the mountain.
  4. to pierce or hollow out, as with tunnels.
verb (used without object), tun·neled, tun·nel·ing or (especially British) tun·nelled, tun·nel·ling.
  1. to make a tunnel or tunnels: to tunnel through the Alps.

Origin of tunnel

1400–50; late Middle English tonel (noun) < Middle French tonele, tonnelle funnel-shaped net, feminine of tonnel cask, diminutive of tonne tun; see -elle
Related formstun·nel·er; especially British, tun·nel·ler, nountun·nel·like, adjectivesub·tun·nel, nounun·tun·neled, adjectiveun·tun·nelled, adjective

tunnel effect

noun
  1. Physics. a quantum-mechanical process by which a particle can pass through a potential energy barrier that is higher than the energy of the particle: first postulated to explain the escape of alpha particles from atomic nuclei.

Origin of tunnel effect

First recorded in 1930–35
Also called tun·nel·ing.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for tunneling

tunnel

noun
  1. an underground passageway, esp one for trains or cars that passes under a mountain, river, or a congested urban area
  2. any passage or channel through or under something
  3. a dialect word for funnel
  4. obsolete the flue of a chimney
verb -nels, -nelling or -nelled or US -nels, -neling or -neled
  1. (tr) to make or force (a way) through or under (something)to tunnel a hole in the wall; to tunnel the cliff
  2. (intr; foll by through, under, etc) to make or force a way (through or under something)he tunnelled through the bracken
Derived Formstunneller or US tunneler, noun

Word Origin

C15: from Old French tonel cask, from tonne tun, from Medieval Latin tonna barrel, of Celtic origin

tunnel effect

noun
  1. physics the phenomenon in which an object, usually an elementary particle, tunnels through a potential barrier even though it does not have sufficient energy to surmount the barrier. It is explained by wave mechanics and is the cause of alpha decay, field emission, and certain conduction processes in semiconductors
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

Word Origin and History for tunneling

tunnel

n.

mid-15c., "funnel-shaped net for catching birds," from Middle French tonnelle "net," or tonel "cask," diminutive of Old French tonne "tun, cask for liquids," possibly from the same source as Old English tunne (see tun).

Sense of "tube, pipe" (1540s) developed in English and led to sense of "underground passage," which is first attested 1765, about five years after the first modern tunnel was built (on the Grand Trunk Canal in England). This sense subsequently has been borrowed into French (1878). The earlier native word for this was mine. Meaning "burrow of an animal" is from 1873. Tunnel vision first recorded 1949. The figurative phrase light at the end of the tunnel is attested from 1922.

tunnel

v.

"excavate underground," 1795, from tunnel (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

tunneling in Medicine

tunnel

(tŭnəl)
n.
  1. A passage located through or under a barrier.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

tunneling in Science

tunneling

[tŭnə-lĭng]
  1. See quantum tunneling.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with tunneling

tunnel

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.