bottleneck

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

Definition of bottleneck

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: narrow bottleneck harbors

bottleneck

noun

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

bottleneck

verb
bottlenecked; bottlenecking; bottlenecks

Definition of bottleneck (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

: to slow or halt by causing a bottleneck

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Synonyms for bottleneck

Synonyms: Noun

backup, jam, jam-up, logjam, snarl, tailback [British], tie-up

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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

Those dangers prompted the National Park Service in 2010 to limit the number of hikers on the enormous rock to combat regular bottlenecks. Peter Fimrite, SFChronicle.com, "Woman falls 500 feet to her death from cables at Half Dome in Yosemite," 6 Sep. 2019 The region has so far spent about $767 million on double tracking the Coaster line to prevent bottlenecks. San Diego Union-Tribune, "SANDAG unveils spending blueprint for traffic-prone commuter corridors, vexing backers of freeway expansion," 6 Sep. 2019 The money would have paid for the construction of primary route improvements that run through the campus, improving bottlenecks and congestion. Andrew Taylor, baltimoresun.com, "Cuts to military projects to pay for President Trump’s border wall will affect Fort Meade, Joint Base Andrews," 5 Sep. 2019 Many drivers today cede way-finding to apps like Waze, which draws on the hive-mind intelligence of other vehicles to ease bottlenecks and dodge perils. Nathan Heller, The New Yorker, "Was the Automotive Era a Terrible Mistake?," 22 July 2019 At present there’s no room for a second set of tracks at Del Mar, which could make that spot a bottleneck as trains become more frequent on San Diego County’s coastal rail corridor. Phil Diehl, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Coastal Commission frowns on trenching idea for bluff-top railroad," 19 Aug. 2019 Similarly, according to Schiffman, poaching, habitat loss, and inbreeding have caused a bottleneck that has stifled genetic diversity in many species—and among the world’s largest creatures in particular. Doug Johnson, Quartz, "Elephants and whales could give us the cure for cancer—unless we keep killing them," 14 Aug. 2019 The company contends the pipeline will generate nearly $1 billion annually to state and county governments and will unlock production bottlenecks in the Permian Basin — allowing leaseholders to earn more than $2 billion in annual royalties. Sergio Chapa, Houston Chronicle, "Kinder Morgan ordered to pay another $2.7 million in Hill Country pipeline dispute," 13 Aug. 2019 Such shifts can take months and sometimes lead to logistics bottlenecks and other complications. Jennifer Smith, WSJ, "‘Reshoring’ Report Finds Factory Work Not Returning to U.S.," 12 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

During the 2017 La Tuna Fire, the biggest in Los Angeles in half a century, a road diet on Foothill Boulevard the in Sunland-Tujunga neighborhood bottlenecked evacuations. Christopher D. Legras, WSJ, "Vision Zero, a ‘Road Diet’ Fad, Is Proving to Be Deadly," 18 Jan. 2019 Since the Coffee Lake chipset can’t support 12 lanes at Gen 3 speeds without bottlenecking, Asus takes eight lanes from the CPU’s direct connect PCIe and uses it for storage, too. Gordon Mah Ung, PCWorld, "No, really: Asus' crazy ROG Mothership is like a Surface Pro for gaming," 6 Jan. 2019 The reconstruction of the power grid — bottlenecked by bureaucracy, outdated laws, and potentially corruption — has been unbearably slow. Umair Irfan, Vox, "Puerto Rico’s blackout is now the second largest on record worldwide," 13 Apr. 2018 Traffic will often bottleneck in certain areas — through much of San Marcos in the afternoon and in Escondido and part of San Marcos in the mornings -- causing delays of 10 to 30 minutes. J. Harry Jones, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Highway 78 traffic study asks drivers to slow down to decrease bottlenecks," 19 Mar. 2018 From long waits at Fairmont and the Beltway to bottleneck backups on SH 225, Pasadena residents collectively spend a lot of time in traffic each day. Jennifer Bolton, Houston Chronicle, "Tough traffic spots in Pasadena? Residents say this is where you'll find them.," 27 Feb. 2018 And then there was Act II, in which Elliott’s progress was bottlenecked by the Seattle defense, or maybe by his own coaching staff. Matthew Martinez, star-telegram, "Zeke gains 97 yards in return, but no touches in critical moment," 24 Dec. 2017 The dinner crowd shuttled into the venue and bottlenecked at the bar, appropriately. Tunde Wey, San Francisco Chronicle, "Black women are the future of the food industry," 15 Dec. 2017 The wreck occurred shortly before 2:30 p.m. as traffic bottlenecked in a work zone on I-70 in Kansas. Shane Sanderson Ssanderson@kcstar.com Ellen Cagle And Ian Cummings, kansascity, "Highway Patrol: Truck driver in wreck that killed 5 was driving too fast, not paying attention," 14 July 2017

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.

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First Known Use of bottleneck

Adjective

1854, in the meaning defined above

Noun

1806, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1919, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for bottleneck

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Time Traveler for bottleneck

The first known use of bottleneck was in 1806

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More Definitions for bottleneck

bottleneck

noun

English Language Learners Definition of bottleneck

: a section of road or highway where the traffic moves very slowly
: something that slows down a process

bottleneck

noun
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.

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to make a temporary encampment

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