When a driver complains about congestion, she's talking about the cars that are backed up on the highway. When your sneezing friend complains about congestion, he's talking about his stuffed-up nose.

Use the noun congestion to talk about over-crowding; this comes up most often when people talk about traffic. If there's unexpected congestion on your route to work, you'll be late. You might also use the word to describe a crush of people: "The congestion in the subway was terrible — we were packed like sardines in there." The medical kind of congestion describes a build up of fluid, especially the kind you feel in your sinuses when you have a bad cold.

Definitions of congestion

n excessive crowding

“traffic congestion
Type of:
a situation in which people or things are crowded together

n excessive accumulation of blood or other fluid in a body part

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accumulation of fluid in the pleural cavity (the space between the lungs and the walls of the chest) often resulting from disease of the heart or kidneys
haemothorax, hemothorax
accumulation of blood in the pleural cavity (the space between the lungs and the walls of the chest)
hyperaemia, hyperemia
increased blood in an organ or other body part
pulmonary congestion
congestion in the lungs
state of obstruction or stoppage or air in the nose or throat
congestion with blood
Type of:
(medicine) any sensation or change in bodily function that is experienced by a patient and is associated with a particular disease

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