bot·​tle·​neck | \ ˈbä-tᵊl-ˌnek How to pronounce bottleneck (audio) \

Definition of bottleneck

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: narrow bottleneck harbors



Definition of bottleneck (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : a narrow route
b : a point of traffic congestion
2a : someone or something that retards or halts free movement and progress
b : impasse
c : a dramatic reduction in the size of a population (as of a species) that results in a decrease in genetic variation
3 : a style of guitar playing in which glissando effects are produced by sliding an object (such as a knife blade or the neck of a bottle) along the strings

called also bottleneck guitar


bottlenecked; bottlenecking; bottlenecks

Definition of bottleneck (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

: to slow or halt by causing a bottleneck

Synonyms for bottleneck

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of bottleneck in a Sentence

Noun Bridge construction has created a bottleneck on the southern part of Main Street. All decisions must be approved by the committee, and this is where the company runs into bottlenecks.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But the corresponding bottleneck with Alaska Airlines’ customer service centers compounds the problems for travelers. Scott Mcmurren, Anchorage Daily News, 14 May 2022 Meanwhile, the Fed is trying to cool those prices down, and producers are trying to produce more and solve the supply chain bottleneck. James Brown, USA TODAY, 1 May 2022 Even for these individuals, families, and businesses who have filed on time, the backlog could still delay the refund many people rely on for months as the IRS tries to process current filings and alleviate their bottleneck from 2020. Bynoah Minnie, ABC News, 18 Apr. 2022 The Build Back Better Act includes two measures that are meant to widen this bottleneck for all physicians via the Pathway to Practice Training Programs. Christin Drake, STAT, 14 Apr. 2022 The tunnel’s design also constricts from four tracks to two, giving Baltimore a reputation as the corridor’s worst bottleneck. Lilly Price, Baltimore Sun, 28 Mar. 2022 Efforts to get around that bottleneck by routing cargo elsewhere have led to backlogs from the Port of Houston in the Gulf to the ports of Savannah, Ga., and Charleston, S.C. Paul Berger, WSJ, 20 Mar. 2022 The bottleneck is going to be the availability of solar panels and factories for the electrolyzers. Bernhard Warner, Fortune, 15 Mar. 2022 Most have gone west, to Poland and Hungary, in such numbers that others are now heading south, to Romania, to avoid the bottleneck. Los Angeles Times, 9 Mar. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Eventually, only a pair of doors were opened, causing concertgoers to bottleneck. Fox News, 13 Nov. 2021 As a result, the park’s conservation team is working to build new routes and visitor centers to better disperse travelers that currently bottleneck the site. Julia Eskins, Condé Nast Traveler, 8 Sep. 2021 However, the other lesson is not to bottleneck your business by doing everything yourself forever. Stephan Rabimov, Forbes, 26 May 2021 This can bottleneck team execution by causing arguments, or if everyone goes with the hero’s opinion, the whole team could miss out on better, more creative solutions. Mark Samuel, Forbes, 26 May 2021 Conversely, the destination disk and the interface might be newer and able to write data faster than the source sending it; that’s where data can bottleneck and potentially cause problems. Eric Alt, Popular Science, 22 Jan. 2021 The big takeaway here is that Optane's extremely low latency allows acceleration of AI pipelines—which frequently bottleneck on storage—by offering very rapid access to models too large to keep entirely in RAM. Jim Salter, Ars Technica, 18 June 2020 According to Lane Farguson, manager of communications at the Halifax Port Authority, bottlenecking at the port could cause shortages of goods in central Canada and the U.S. Midwest. Audrey Carleton, Fortune, 1 Apr. 2020 Some updates to Apple's Mac product lineup have often been bottlenecked on waiting for updates or overcoming barriers in Intel's roadmap, which does not always suit Apple's priorities and which has been subject to disruption in the past. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, 23 Apr. 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bottleneck.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of bottleneck


1854, in the meaning defined above


1806, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1919, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for bottleneck

Time Traveler

The first known use of bottleneck was in 1806

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Dictionary Entries Near bottleneck

bottle kiln



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Cite this Entry

“Bottleneck.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for bottleneck


bot·​tle·​neck | \ ˈbä-tᵊl-ˌnek How to pronounce bottleneck (audio) \

Kids Definition of bottleneck

: a place or condition where improvement or movement is held up That intersection is a traffic bottleneck.

More from Merriam-Webster on bottleneck

Nglish: Translation of bottleneck for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bottleneck for Arabic Speakers


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