See more synonyms for bottleneck on
  1. a narrow entrance or passageway.
  2. a place or stage in a process at which progress is impeded.
  3. 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)
  1. to hamper or confine by or as if by a bottleneck.
verb (used without object)
  1. 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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for bottlenecking


    1. a narrow stretch of road or a junction at which traffic is or may be held up
    2. the hold up
  1. something that holds up progress, esp of a manufacturing process
  2. music
    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
  1. (tr) 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

Word Origin and History for bottlenecking



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

bottlenecking in Science


  1. 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 © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

bottlenecking in Culture


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 Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.