[Portuguese foon-shahl]


[muh-deer-uh, -dair-uh; for 1, 2, 5 also Portuguese mah-de-ruh]
  1. a group of eight islands off the NW coast of Africa, part of Portugal. 308 sq. mi. (798 sq. km). Capital: Funchal.
  2. the chief island of this group. 286 sq. mi. (741 sq. km).
  3. (often lowercase) a rich, strong white or amber wine, resembling sherry, made there.
  4. (often lowercase) a similar wine made elsewhere.
  5. a river in W Brazil flowing NE to the Amazon: chief tributary of the Amazon. 2100 miles (3380 km) long. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for funchal

Contemporary Examples of funchal

Historical Examples of funchal

  • Had he not scuttled a Spanish carack four years ago in the bay of Funchal?

    The Sea-Hawk

    Raphael Sabatini

  • We sailed on, and dropped our anchor opposite to the city of Funchal.

  • Funchal has been a thousand times described, and is well worthy of it.

    A Tramp's Notebook

    Morley Roberts

  • But there is nothing to do in Funchal save eat and swim or ride.

    A Tramp's Notebook

    Morley Roberts

  • Figuero is here, and we leave on the yacht for Funchal to–night.

    The Message

    Louis Tracy

British Dictionary definitions for funchal


  1. the capital and chief port of the Madeira Islands, on the S coast of Madeira. Pop: 103 962 (2001)


  1. a group of volcanic islands in the N Atlantic, west of Morocco: since 1976 an autonomous region of Portugal; consists of the chief island, Madeira, Porto Santo, and the uninhabited Deserta and Selvagen Islands. Capital: Funchal. Pop: 245 012 (2001). Area: 797 sq km (311 sq miles)
  2. a river in W Brazil, flowing northeast to the Amazon below Manaus. Length: 3241 km (2013 miles)
  3. a rich strong fortified white wine made on Madeira
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 funchal



white wine, 1540s, from island of Madeira in the Atlantic, from Portuguese madeira "wood," because the island formerly was thickly wooded, from Latin materia "wood, matter" (see matter).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper