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Obscure, possibly dialect or related to the name of the long-forgotten inventor, or possibly from French couvert ‎(covered), although couvert is not used in this sense and the introduction of an l to the English word is difficult to explain.

Another explanation is that the term derives from an unrecorded Dutch word, possibly coul-vaart, equivalent to coul- (from French, compare couler ‎(to flow)) + vaart ‎(a trip by boat, a canal) (See fare).


culvert ‎(plural culverts)

  1. A transverse channel under a road or railway for the draining of water.
    • 1922, Virginia Woolf, Jacob's Room, Vintage Classics, paperback edition, page 91
      A raft of twigs stayed upon a stone, suddenly detached itself, and floated towards the culvert.
    • 1996, Janette Turner Hospital, Oyster, Virago Press, paperback edition, page 167
      After she left, I ran away for a day, and hid myself, solitary, in a culvert under the railway lines.



culvert ‎(third-person singular simple present culverts, present participle culverting, simple past and past participle culverted)

  1. To channel (a stream of water) through a culvert.