To downsize is to make something smaller. You might downsize your collection of vintage china by selling everything that's nicked or chipped.

You can downsize the items you own by giving them away, and you can downsize your living situation by moving from a huge house to a very small apartment. When a company downsizes, it almost always means it's reducing the number of employees, making the company smaller by laying them off. This last meaning has only been around since the 1980s.

Definitions of downsize
  1. verb
    reduce in size or number
    “the company downsized its research staff”
    see moresee less
    type of:
    bring down, cut, cut back, cut down, reduce, trim, trim back, trim down
    cut down on; make a reduction in
  2. verb
    dismiss from work
    “three secretaries were downsized during the financial crisis”
    see moresee less
    type of:
    furlough, lay off
    dismiss, usually for economic reasons
  3. verb
    make in a smaller size
    “the car makers downsized the SUVs when fuel became very expensive”
    see moresee less
    type of:
    reduce, shrink
    reduce in size; reduce physically
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week