Dictionary editors know words. It’s their profession.
So I read the phrase “unknown origin” twice when I looked up the word to go with today’s entry. After all, I’ve heard and used the word all of my life.
They come in all sizes: from skinny metal tubes measuring mere inches in diameter through larger and larger cylinders – commonly ribbed for strength. Materials vary also – metal and concrete are the most common but I’ve no doubt that one of these days PVC or one of the other sturdy plastics will be used.
Their purpose is simple. They allow water to pass under a road, railroad, hiking trail or other object.
As children we were cautioned to be careful around them. I think the parents were concerned we’d get stuck. These are the same parents that discussed using the largest ones as tornado (storm) shelters. We called the large ones, usually cement, cattle passes. They were of the size and purpose to allow cattle to cross under the road from one pasture to another. Much to the safety of both cattle and motorist.
Culvert. It has a good sound. But according to people who study that sort of thing — the origins of the word are lost in the echoes of history.
This is “cattle pass” size that carries a creek. Visit during low water.