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
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

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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 Other parts of Ampere become the bottleneck below 4K. Brad Chacos, PCWorld, "AMD's Radeon RX 6000 'Big Navi' performance tease reveals an RTX 3080 rival," 8 Oct. 2020 It is intended to relieve a bottleneck and improve access for logging trucks to the International Paper plant in Autauga County. Mike Cason |, al, "Officials say Alabama gas tax increase producing results," 29 Sep. 2020 One major bottleneck is the EDD’s process of flagging about 40% of new claims for manual processing, which delays a benefits determination for at least 21 days. Kathleen Pender,, "California’s EDD stops taking new unemployment applications until Oct. 5 to retool," 20 Sep. 2020 But tau, on the other hand, becomes governed by Adaptix, an algorithm that extends turbo time by dynamically regulating clock frequencies down when the CPU itself isn't the bottleneck. Jim Salter, Ars Technica, "Hands-on with Intel’s i7-1185G7 Tiger Lake prototype laptop," 17 Sep. 2020 Trajectory curve of bullets from most bottleneck cartridges in the .243 Win. Ron Spomer, Outdoor Life, "What’s the Best Distance to Zero A Hunting Rifle?," 19 Aug. 2020 Many of the residents decided to leave and created a traffic jam leading out of town, another scary reminder of the bottleneck where several residents died two years ago. Terence Chea And Brian Melley, The Christian Science Monitor, "California wildfire grows overnight, 20,000 told to evacuate," 10 Sep. 2020 The flood of morning orders also seemed to create an operational bottleneck; the delay between when drugs were prescribed and when they were administered was longest for medications ordered in that 8-to-noon window, the researchers found. Emily Anthes, The Atlantic, "Hospitals Are Out of Sync With the Human Body," 18 Aug. 2020 Consider having multiple candy stations that help distribute the bottleneck of candy lovers. Emily Vanschmus, Better Homes & Gardens, "How to Trick-or-Treat Safely: 5 Expert Tips from a Pediatrician," 10 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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, "Intel’s 3rd-generation Xeon Scalable CPUs offer 16-bit FPU processing," 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, "Canadian rail blockades could have a lasting effect on U.S.-Canada trade, setting the stage for even greater fallout from coronavirus," 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, "Report: Apple will begin selling Macs with its own processors in 2021," 23 Apr. 2020 This becomes increasingly important in large datacenter environments, which can frequently bottleneck on data ingest as much or more than on raw CPU firepower. Jim Salter, Ars Technica, "A detailed look at AMD’s new Epyc “Rome” 7nm server CPUs," 9 Aug. 2019 This 1892 creation is one of the great, great, great grandpas of bottlenecked, centerfire rifle cartridges. Ron Spomer, Outdoor Life, "The 7mm Showdown: 7x57 vs. 7mm-08 Rem. vs. .284 Win.," 20 Mar. 2020 That’s expected, as most triple-A games are heavily bottlenecked by the graphics card rather than the processor. Gordon Mah Ung, PCWorld, "AMD's new Ryzen 9 laptop CPUs aim to topple Intel's most powerful Core i9 chips," 16 Mar. 2020 Now, more than one hundred and twelve thousand asylum-seekers are bottlenecked in Greece, more than one third of their number on the islands. Patrick Strickland, The New York Review of Books, "After the EU Turned Greece into a Refugee Warehouse, a Backlash," 4 Mar. 2020 North Carolina Republicans acted similarly in the wake of Charleston’s Emanuel AME massacre, rushing to pass a bill that bottlenecked the removal process for Confederate statues and effectively criminalized their detractors. Nick Martin, The New Republic, "There’s Nothing More American Than Native Mascots," 29 Jan. 2020

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


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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Statistics for bottleneck

Cite this Entry

“Bottleneck.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for bottleneck



English Language Learners Definition of bottleneck

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


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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