down·​size | \ ˈdau̇n-ˌsīz How to pronounce downsize (audio) \
downsized; downsizing; downsizes

Definition of downsize

transitive verb

1 : to reduce in size especially : to design or produce in smaller size
2 : to fire (employees) for the purpose of downsizing a business

intransitive verb

: to undergo a reduction in size

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of downsize in a Sentence

They have downsized the car's engine in the new model. The company is planning to downsize next year. The company will be downsized next year.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web After the Cold War, the Navy downsized and ultimately declassified the Marine Mammal Program. Andrew Daniels, Popular Mechanics, "Does Iran Have Secret Armed Dolphin Assassins?," 13 Jan. 2020 So the force has been downsizing, stressing technically proficient volunteers over conscripts who tend to come from poorer areas with less education. Brad Lendon And Michelle Lim, CNN, "Here's what happens when you quit the Chinese military," 16 Dec. 2019 His four children, who have grown accustomed to a certain way of living, have a hard time adjusting when they’re forced to downsize. Erin Jensen, USA TODAY, "Netflix's winter rom-coms, ranked: 'Holiday Rush,' 'Knight Before Christmas' top our list," 26 Nov. 2019 Many of the best walleye presentations, when downsized one or two sizes, are very effective for jumbo perch. Outdoor Life, "5 Hottest Bites For First Ice," 20 Nov. 2019 Over the last decade, though, the tech industry has downsized ultrasound scanners into devices resembling TV remotes. NBC News, "Is the stethoscope dying? High-tech rivals pose a threat," 23 Oct. 2019 Trump tariff predicament The 2008 recession forced Kits & Kaboodle to downsize. London Gibson, Indianapolis Star, "Trump tariff concerns are the fright before Christmas for Carmel toy store owner," 21 June 2019 But for many, the task has proved too great, and students have been forced to downsize operations. Alexandra Villarreal, Fox News, "College newspapers across US campaign to secure their future," 25 Apr. 2018 But for many, the task has proved too great, and students have been forced to downsize operations. Washington Post, "College newspapers across US campaign to secure their future," 25 Apr. 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of downsize

1975, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about downsize

Time Traveler for downsize

Time Traveler

The first known use of downsize was in 1975

See more words from the same year

Statistics for downsize

Last Updated

24 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Downsize.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 28 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for downsize



Financial Definition of downsize

What It Is

Downsizing is a strategy used to reduce the size and scope of a business in order to improve its financial performance, usually by laying off employees or closing less-profitable divisions.

How It Works

Downsizing often takes place as part of a larger restructuring program at a company. Although it's usually thought of as a strategy companies use to become smaller, downsizing can also be the result of company mergers, acquisitions, and takeovers.

Its most common form comes in employee layoffs, which reduce payroll costs for the company. Downsizing may also involve shuttering some operations or offering certain employees early retirement.

Why It Matters

Downsizing is typically seen during economic downturns in order to improve efficiency and maintain profitability. However, if too many companies cut payrolls, it can further the downturn due to higher unemployment.

As well, companies may downsize in order to improve their attractiveness to potential acquirers and their cost-cutting moves could result in a buyout offer.

Source: Investing Answers


How to pronounce downsize (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of downsize

: to make (something) smaller
: to make a company smaller and more efficient by reducing the number of workers

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on downsize

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for downsize

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with downsize

Spanish Central: Translation of downsize

Nglish: Translation of downsize for Spanish Speakers

Comments on downsize

What made you want to look up downsize? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


showing steady, earnest care and effort

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Intact Latin Quiz

  • roman tablet
  • What did focus mean in Latin?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!