con·sol·i·da·tion | \ kən-ˌsä-lə-ˈdā-shən \

Definition of consolidation 

1 : the act or process of consolidating : the state of being consolidated

2 : the process of uniting : the quality or state of being united specifically : the unification of two or more corporations by dissolution of existing ones and creation of a single new corporation

3 : pathological alteration of lung tissue from an aerated condition to one of solid consistency

4 : the process by which a new memory is converted into a form that is stable and long-lasting Initially fragile memories can gain stability via consolidation, but the extent to which sleep contributes to this process is unresolved … —John D. Rudoy et al.

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Examples of consolidation in a Sentence

the consolidation of several intelligence agencies into one super agency

Recent Examples on the Web

The timing now — with the survey consolidation in full press and congressional discussion bubbling away— offered an optimal chance to take hold of the narrative and change its course. Johnforristerross, Longreads, "Taming the Great American Desert," 2 July 2018 Amy Margolis, executive director of the Oregon Cannabis Association, says that capping licenses would only spur even more consolidation in the long-term. Gillian Flaccus, The Christian Science Monitor, "Oregon faces fallout from a flooded marijuana market," 31 May 2018 That makes this a high-volume, low-cost game, a reality that has driven consolidation in the market. Erika Fry, Fortune, "Critical Condition: Inside Pfizer’s Drug Supply Problem," 22 May 2018 Ackerman, who died in September, was a member of the first class of the university’s Board of Trustees following its 1988 consolidation of Clark College and Atlanta University. Eric Stirgus, ajc, "Clark Atlanta University announces $2 million scholarship," 19 May 2018 Could disrupting memory consolidation in the golden hours prevent the onset of PTSD? Shaili Jain, STAT, "Preventing PTSD: calling Dr. Tetris?," 14 May 2018 Express’ loss of Anthem after 2019 has put pressure on the company amid rapid consolidation in the pharmacy-benefit management industry., "Cigna Near Deal to Buy Express Scripts, WSJ Says," 8 Mar. 2018 Kaplan also said that the wave of consolidation that swept the airline industry starting in the early 2000s and culminating in American's 2013 merger with US Airways won't be repeated in the foreseeable future. Ely Portillo, charlotteobserver, "Charlotte’s airport manages ‘tricky balance’ between low-cost hub and fancy new gates," 12 July 2018 The law firm industry is in a period of consolidation. Patrick Danner, San Antonio Express-News, "Managing partner oversees 1,000 lawyers from San Antonio office," 25 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'consolidation.' 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 consolidation

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

13 Sep 2018

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The first known use of consolidation was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for consolidation



Financial Definition of consolidation

What It Is

In business, consolidation refers to the merger of several companies in a specific industry, which typically concentrates market share in the hands of a few large companies.

How It Works

Perhaps one of the most obvious examples of industry consolidation can be seen in the evolution of public accounting over the twenty years. In 1986, nine large accounting firms dominated the industry. But in 1987, Klynveld Main Goerdeler (KMG) merged with Peat Marwick Mitchell to create KPMG Peat Marwick, reducing the number of top-tier players to the "Big Eight." Then in 1989, Ernst & Whinney merged with Arthur Young, and Deloitte Haskins & Sells merged with Touche Ross, further consolidating the industry to the "Big Six." In 1998, the merger of Price Waterhouse and Coopers & Lybrand created the "Big Five," and the dissolution of Arthur Andersen in 2002 left the "Big Four."

Another, more recent example can be found in the online brokerage business, where after several rounds of consolidation, three major competitors have emerged: E*Trade (following its acquisitions of BrownCo and HarrisDirect), Ameritrade (which recently won a bidding war for TD Waterhouse), and Charles Schwab.

Why It Matters

One of the driving forces behind consolidation is the operating efficiencies that often arise from mergers. Because the merged entities can merge existing operating structures and reduce any overlap, there is usually an opportunity to realize significant cost savings, as well as related revenue synergies. There are numerous other reasons which might cause a company to acquire a rival, like gaining an expanded geographic reach, a larger customer base, a broader product line, etc.

Like oligopolies, duopolies, cartels, and other environments in which a few companies control all or a significant portion of an industry, consolidations alter the balance of power in an industry. Investors should carefully consider the ramifications that merger and acquisition (M&A) activity might have on the competitive landscape.

Source: Investing Answers


con·sol·i·da·tion | \ kən-ˌsäl-ə-ˈdā-shən \

Medical Definition of consolidation 

: the process by which an infected lung passes from an aerated collapsible condition to one of airless solid consistency through the accumulation of exudate in the alveoli and adjoining ducts pneumonic consolidation also : tissue that has undergone consolidation areas of consolidation

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