• WordNet 3.6
    • n manhole a hole (usually with a flush cover) through which a person can gain access to an underground structure
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Manhole A hole through which a man may descend or creep into a drain, sewer, steam boiler, parts of machinery, etc., for cleaning or repairing.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n manhole A hole through which a man may enter a sewer, drain, cesspool, or the like, for cleaning or repairing; in steam-boilers, hot-water tanks, keirs, etc., a hole formed in the shell, through which a man may enter to the interior for cleaning, inspection, or repairs. In the latter cases the hole is provided with a cover by which it may be stopped steam-tight or water-tight, the cover being usually fitted to the inside, and the hole made elliptical so that the cover can be easily inserted; the pressure of the steam or water assists in holding the cover to its seat.
    • n manhole In coal-mining: An excavation or refuge-hole made in the side of an underground engine-plane or horse-road. [Eng.] A small and generally short passage used for the ingress and egress of the miners. [Pennsylvania anthracite, region.] A niche cut in the side of a railroad-tunnel as a refuge-hole.
    • manhole To enter or use a manhole, as for the purpose of examining or repairing machinery.
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In literature:

Then Baldwin squeezed himself with difficulty through the manhole, and the dress was passed down to him.
"Under the Waves" by R M Ballantyne
The top of the trousers fitted him about as snugly as a round manhole in the street.
"At Good Old Siwash" by George Fitch
A record of the branches and their distance from the manhole is kept generally in the Department of Sewers or Public Works.
"Elements of Plumbing" by Samuel Dibble
There's only these one stairs, an' the only manhole's right here over your heads, so's you can watch that.
"Friendship Village" by Zona Gale
Interior of the vapor body is reached through a manhole.
"All About Coffee" by William H. Ukers
Carefully screened manholes used by the snipers were reached by long tunnels from the trenches.
"The Story of the Great War, Volume V (of 8)"
It was a ladder leading to one of the manholes in the pavement.
"The Exploits of Juve" by Pierre Souvestre and Marcel Allain
For sending workmen inside the siphon to make repairs or clearing away an obstruction there are eight manholes.
"The Industrial Canal and Inner Harbor of New Orleans" by Thomas Ewing Dabney
Or they step into open manholes.
"The Wailing Octopus" by Harold Leland Goodwin
A two-foot circle is made, or more commonly with the lad of these parts the manhole or steam-escape tap selected.
"Harper's Round Table, October 22, 1895" by Various

In news:

Six manhole covers went missing in the last two weeks.
Austin Man Arrested For Allegedly Stealing Manhole Covers.
Police say 39 year old Chad Sabanish was arrested Sunday afternoon for allegedly stealing city manhole covers, hoping to sell them for scrap.
Manhole cover blown off by explosion in South of Market district.
Fawn gets trapped in manhole .
Rescuers in Utah save a fawn after the baby deer got stuck in a manhole .
Manhole cover level with street.
We reported on Oct 15 about a manhole cover that was not level with the street in the right lane near the Main/Canton streets split in Deep Ellum.
Several heavy manhole covers have disappeared in the city of Binghamton in recent days.
Manhole repairs on Valdosta's River Street.
Sheriff's deputies in Utah rescued a baby deer this past week after it got trapped in a manhole .
He added that despite the incidents of open manholes , there were no known cases of people being injured by falling into open manholes .
"Those numbers include covers on manholes that lead to sewer infrastructure, as well as covers on manholes that lead to potable water infrastructure," Waters told the committee.
Witnesses also reported seeing yellow smoke coming out of the manholes following the explosion.
(AP) — Police on New York's Long Island spent over four hours rescuing a baby deer that fell into a 20-foot-deep manhole .