[ doun-sahyz ]
/ ˈdaʊnˌsaɪz /

verb (used with object), down·sized, down·siz·ing.

to design or manufacture a smaller version or type of: The automotive industry downsized its cars for improved fuel economy.
to reduce in number; cut back.


Also down·sized. being of a smaller size or version: a downsize car.

Nearby words

  1. downscale,
  2. downscale ,
  3. downshift,
  4. downshifting,
  5. downside,
  6. downslide,
  7. downspin,
  8. downspout,
  9. downstage,
  10. downstairs

Origin of downsize

An Americanism dating back to 1970–75; down1 + size1

Can be confuseddownsize fire lay off rightsize terminate Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for downsize

British Dictionary definitions for downsize


/ (ˈdaʊnˌsaɪz) /

verb -sizes, -sizing or -sized (tr)

to reduce the operating costs of a company by reducing the number of people it employs
to reduce the size of or produce a smaller version of (something)
to upgrade (a computer system) by replacing a mainframe or minicomputer with a network of microcomputersCompare rightsize
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 downsize



1986 in reference to companies shedding jobs; earlier (1975) in reference to U.S. automakers building smaller cars and trucks (supposedly a coinage at General Motors), from down (adv.) + size (v.). Related: Downsized; downsizing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for downsize


To reduce in number, especially personnel: “The company decided to downsize half the workers in the aircraft division.” It can also be used in reference to objects: “I decided to downsize my wardrobe and threw out all my old T-shirts.”


Downsize is a recent euphemism for “fire, lay off.” Company managers often use this term in an attempt to soften the blow of wide-scale layoffs.

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.