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

n the narrow part of a bottle near the top

Type of:
part, portion
something less than the whole of a human artifact

n a narrowing that reduces the flow through a channel

chokepoint, constriction
Type of:
an instance of becoming narrow

v slow down or impede by creating an obstruction

“His laziness has bottlenecked our efforts to reform the system”
Type of:
block, blockade, embarrass, hinder, obstruct, stymie, stymy
hinder or prevent the progress or accomplishment of

v become narrow, like a bottleneck

“Right by the bridge, the road bottlenecks
Type of:
contract, narrow
make or become more narrow or restricted

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