Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[bot-l-nek] /ˈbɒt lˌnɛk/
a narrow entrance or passageway.
a place or stage in a process at which progress is impeded.
Also called slide guitar. a method of guitar playing that produces a gliding sound by pressing a metal bar or glass tube against the strings.
verb (used with object)
to hamper or confine by or as if by a bottleneck.
verb (used without object)
to become hindered by or as if by a bottleneck.
Origin of bottleneck
First recorded in 1895-1900; bottle1 + neck Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for bottleneck
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
British Dictionary definitions for bottleneck


  1. a narrow stretch of road or a junction at which traffic is or may be held up
  2. the hold up
something that holds up progress, esp of a manufacturing process
  1. the broken-off neck of a bottle placed over a finger and used to produce a buzzing effect in a style of guitar-playing originally part of the American blues tradition
  2. the style of guitar playing using a bottleneck
(transitive) (US) to be or cause an obstruction in
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Contemporary definitions for bottleneck
noun's 21st Century Lexicon
Copyright © 2003-2014, LLC
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for bottleneck

also bttle-neck, "narrow entrance, spot where traffic becomes congested," 1896; from bottle (n.) + neck (n.). Meaning "anything which obstructs a flow" is from 1922; the verb in this sense is from 1928.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
bottleneck in Science
An abrupt and severe reduction in the number of individuals during the history of a species, resulting in the loss of diversity from the gene pool. The generations following the bottleneck are more genetically homogenous than would otherwise be expected. Bottlenecks often occur in consequence of a catastrophic event.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
bottleneck in Culture

bottleneck definition

The point at which an industry or economic system has to slow its growth because one or more of its components cannot keep up with demand.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for bottleneck

Difficulty index for bottleneck

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for bottleneck

Scrabble Words With Friends