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

To the outside world, the election was the latest step in Erdogan's systematic consolidation of power and his bid to transform the once-staunchly secular republic in his more religiously minded image. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, "What the world’s nationalists can learn from Turkey and Erdogan," 26 June 2018 The studio's veteran marketing chief Sue Kroll stepped down this year in a broader consolidation of the film studio's operations under Warner Bros. Pictures Group Chairman Toby Emmerich. Ryan Faughnder,, "Warner Bros. international distribution head Veronika Kwan Vandenberg to leave the studio," 15 May 2018 But Amazon's success in so many different lines of business has not been easy for regulators to tackle, given that federal antitrust law largely focuses on consolidation within distinct industries. The Washington Post,, "Amazon doubles its profit - and hikes Prime membership by $20," 26 Apr. 2018 And an in-house consolidation of the Building and Housing Inspection departments will result in the latter -- as well as the Neighborhood Revitalization Department -- moving from the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Community Building to City Hall. Thomas Jewell,, "Shaker, county to split cost on repaving Fairhill Road: Council recap," 25 Apr. 2018 In a significant consolidation of dance programming in Philadelphia, the Annenberg Center announced Monday a new partnership with NextMove Dance. Bethany Ao,, "Annenberg and NextMove are now contemporary-dance partners," 16 Apr. 2018 Although JVs are falling out of favour with authorities, airlines are still keen on consolidation. The Economist, "Protectionism may impede Delta’s expansion plans," 15 Mar. 2018 Employees of both utilities are protected in the consolidation with right-sizing of the consolidated Chugach occurring through attrition. Lee Thiber, Anchorage Daily News, "The case for consolidating Chugach Electric and Municipal Light & Power," 14 Mar. 2018 Still, a handful of large farms control about half of the U.S. organic egg industry, according to those in the business, and the trend has been toward industry consolidation. Rick Barrett, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Should 'USDA Organic' seal require better animal welfare standards? Farm industry is divided," 22 Jan. 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

8 Nov 2018

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

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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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to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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