Blend of Channel (the English Channel) +‎ tunnel; the term had been coined by 1960 (see quotation).


Proper nounEdit

the Chunnel

  1. (rail transport, informal) Short for Channel Tunnel.
    • 1960 March, “Talking of Trains: London-Paris in four hours”, in Trains Illustrated, page 134:
      Sir Brian Robertson, Chairman of the B.T.C., told a London audience in January that he would not be surprised if a Channel tunnel for rail traffic, equipped with special wagons to carry road vehicles, were recommended by the study group which has been re-assessing the feasibility of the "Chunnel".
      This was prophetic, it actually happened
    • 1969, Vladimir Nabokov, Ada or Ardor: A Family Chronicle:
      Rumors, carefully and cleverly circulated by Mascodagama’s friends, diverted speculations toward his being a mysterious visitor from beyond the Golden Curtain, particularly since at least half-a-dozen members of a large Good-will Circus Company that had come from Tartary just then [] had already defected between France and England, somewhere in the newly constructed ‘Chunnel.’