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tunnel

[tuhn-l] /ˈtʌn l/
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), tunneled, tunneling or (especially British) tunnelled, tunnelling.
6.
to construct a passageway through or under:
to tunnel a mountain.
7.
to make or excavate (a tunnel or underground passage):
to tunnel a passage under a river.
8.
to move or proceed by or as if by boring a tunnel:
The river tunneled its way through the mountain.
9.
to pierce or hollow out, as with tunnels.
verb (used without object), tunneled, tunneling or (especially British) tunnelled, tunnelling.
10.
to make a tunnel or tunnels:
to tunnel through the Alps.
Origin of tunnel
late Middle English
1400-1450
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 forms
tunneler; especially British, tunneller, noun
tunnellike, adjective
subtunnel, noun
untunneled, adjective
untunnelled, 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.
Also called tunneling.
Origin
1930-35
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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British Dictionary definitions for tunneling

tunnel

/ˈtʌnəl/
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, -nelled (US) -nels, -neling, -neled
5.
(transitive) to make or force (a way) through or under (something): to tunnel a hole in the wall, to tunnel the cliff
6.
(intransitive; foll by through, under, etc) to make or force a way (through or under something): he tunnelled through the bracken
Derived Forms
tunneller, (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
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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.

v.

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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tunneling in Medicine

tunnel tun·nel (tŭn'əl)
n.
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.
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tunneling in Science
tunneling
  (tŭn'ə-lĭng)   
See quantum tunneling.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for tunneling

tunnel

verb

To go into hiding (1950s+ Underworld)

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