bottleneck

A bottleneck is a type of traffic jam, when cars get stuck or slowed down in a narrow part of the roadway. You might leave work two hours later than usual to avoid a bottleneck.

Anything that gets stalled in a narrow area, whether it's auto traffic or pedestrians, can be called a bottleneck. Information can also get stuck in a kind of bottleneck, if the system itself creates a delay. The term comes from the shape of an actual bottleneck, or the narrow neck or mouth of a bottle.

Definitions of bottleneck
  1. noun
    the narrow part of a bottle near the top
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    type of:
    part, portion
    something less than the whole of a human artifact
  2. noun
    a narrowing that reduces the flow through a channel
    synonyms: chokepoint, constriction
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    type of:
    narrowing
    an instance of becoming narrow
  3. verb
    slow down or impede by creating an obstruction
    “His laziness has bottlenecked our efforts to reform the system”
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    type of:
    block, blockade, embarrass, hinder, obstruct, stymie, stymy
    hinder or prevent the progress or accomplishment of
  4. verb
    become narrow, like a bottleneck
    “Right by the bridge, the road bottlenecks
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    type of:
    contract, narrow
    make or become more narrow or restricted
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