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]
"of or pertaining to the wrist," 1743, from Modern Latin carpalis, from carpus "wrist" (see carpus). Carpal tunnel syndrome attested by 1970, from carpal tunnel (1896), the tunnel-like passage that carries nerves through the wrist.
"pit or tunnel made in the earth for the purpose of obtaining metals and minerals," c. 1300, from Old French mine "vein, lode; tunnel, shaft; mineral ore; mine" (for coal, tin, etc,), a word of uncertain origin, probably from a Celtic source (compare Welsh mwyn, Irish mein "ore, mine"), from Old Celtic *meini-. Italy and Greece were relatively poor in minerals, thus they did not contribute a word for this to English, but there was extensive mining from an early date in Celtic lands (Cornwall, etc.).
From c. 1400 in the military sense of "a tunnel under fortifications to overthrow them" (for further development of this sense see mine (n.2)).
c. 1300, minen, "to dig a tunnel under fortifications to overthrow them," from mine (n.1) or from Old French miner "to dig, mine; exterminate," from the French noun. From mid-14c. as "to dig in the earth" (in order to obtain minerals, treasure, etc.). Figurative meaning "ruin or destroy by slow or secret methods" is from mid-14c. Transitive sense of "to extract by mining" is from late 14c. For the sense of "to lay (explosive) mines," see mine (v.2). Related: Mined; mining.
1610s, from French tube (15c.), from Latin tubus "tube, pipe," a word of unknown origin. The London subway was christened the Twopenny Tube (H.D. Browne, in the "Londoner" of June 30, 1900) before it even opened; tube for "cylindrical railway tunnel" is attested from 1847. The meaning "TV as a medium" is from 1959, short for cathode ray tube or picture tube. Tube top as a women's clothing style is attested from 1972. Tube steak is attested from 1963 as "frankfurter," slang meaning "penis" is recorded by mid-1980s.
mid-15c., "sphere, globe, something spherical or circular, orbit of a heavenly body," from Old French orbe "orb, globe" (13c.) and directly from Latin orbem (nominative orbis) "circle, disk, ring, hoop, orbit," probably related to orbita "wheel track, rut," a word of unknown and much-disputed origin. Watkins suggests a connection with the root of orchid. De Vaan suggests *horbi- "turning thing."
A three-dimensional extension of a word originally describing two-dimensional shapes. The ancient astronomical sense is in reference to the hollow "spheres" that carried each of the planets and the stars through their heavenly motions in the Ptolemaic system. Used poetically of the earth, sun, or moon from 1590s; used rhetorically of the eye from 1650s. As a verb from c. 1600.
Orb-weaver in reference to spiders that make webs formed of lines radiating from a central point (as distinguished from tube- or tunnel-weavers) is recorded from 1889.