"large cask," especially one for wine, ale, or beer, Old English tunne "tun, cask, barrel," a general North Sea Germanic word (compare Old Frisian tunne, Middle Dutch tonne, Old High German tunna, German tonne), also found in Medieval Latin tunna (9c.) and Old French tonne (diminutive tonneau); perhaps from a Celtic source (compare Middle Irish, Gaelic tunna, Old Irish toun "hide, skin"). Tun-dish (late 14c.) was a funnel made to fit into the bung of a tun.
— That? said Stephen. — Is that called a funnel? Is it not a tundish? —
— What is a tundish? —
— That. The ... the funnel. —
— Is that called a tundish in Ireland? — asked the dean. — I never heard the word in my life. —
— It is called a tundish in Lower Drumcondra — said Stephen, laughing — where they speak the best English.—
— A tundish — said the dean reflectively. — That is a most interesting word I must look that word up. Upon my word I must. —
His courtesy of manner rang a little false, and Stephen looked at the English convert with the same eyes as the elder brother in the parable may have turned on the prodigal. [Joyce, "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man"]
early 15c., tonel, "funnel-shaped net for catching birds," from Old 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" (1660s). This sense subsequently has been borrowed into French (1878). The earlier native word for this was mine (n.). Meaning "burrow of an animal" is from 1873. Tunnel vision is attested from 1912. The amusement park tunnel of love is attested from 1911 (in reference to New York's Luna Park). The figurative light at the end of the tunnel has been seen since 1882.
The "Tunnel of Love," an attraction found at many amusement parks, has been responsible for a surprising number of proposals. In this and similar devices, couples are allowed to drift through dark or semi-dark underground caverns, usually in a boat or gondola borne on an artificial stream of water. ... Their dim interiors often give a bashful young man the opportunity to propose. [The American Magazine, July 1922]
surname, attested from early 12c., from village of Glinton, earlier Clinton, Northamptonshire (now Cambridgeshire); the second element is Old English tun "farm, village," the first is of unknown origin.
Meaning "inhabited place larger than a village" (mid-12c.) arose after the Norman conquest from the use of this word to correspond to French ville. The modern word is partially a generic term, applicable to cities of great size as well as places intermediate between a city and a village; such use is unusual, the only parallel is perhaps Latin oppidium, which occasionally was applied even to Rome or Athens (each of which was more properly an urbs).
First record of town hall is from late 15c. Town ball, version of baseball, is recorded from 1852. Town car (1907) originally was a motor car with an enclosed passenger compartment and open driver's seat. On the town "living the high life" is from 1712. Go to town "do (something) energetically" is first recorded 1933. Man about town "one constantly seen at public and private functions" is attested from 1734.