Definition of bottleneck in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈbädlˌnek/


1The neck or mouth of a bottle.
2A point of congestion or blockage, in particular.
Example sentences
  • I reached Chicago at 5: 30 p.m. and spent an hour - only an hour - making my way through America's biggest bottleneck.
  • The continuing bottleneck will inevitably mean more severe congestion, particularly at busy times such as the February half-term, Easter, and the May Day and Spring Bank Holiday periods.
  • Police were on hand to guide drivers as the lights started operating this morning at the bottleneck blackspot in a bid to ease congestion which has plagued the junction for months.
2.1A narrow section of road or a junction that impedes traffic flow: narrow streets and a lack of parking space combine to make the town a bottleneck
More example sentences
  • The mayor said that this section of road was a well-known bottleneck that funneled traffic from four lanes into three lanes.
  • ‘York Corporation today announced a plan to close many of the city's major road bottlenecks to traffic, except for access,’ the report began.
  • The proposed subway is envisaged to clear the traffic bottleneck at this busy junction.
traffic jam, jam, congestion, tie-up, holdup, snarl-up, gridlock, logjam, constriction, narrowing, restriction, obstruction, blockage, choke point
2.2A situation that causes delay in a process or system: lack of imports is making the bottlenecks in domestic output worse than usual
More example sentences
  • The review should also address the bottlenecks in the planning system that are causing unnecessary delays and costs to the construction sector, the CIF said.
  • In a pull system, the bottleneck governs the rate that patients flow through the whole process.
  • Mr Speaker, the first order of business for this government is to fully investigate this situation and remove the bottlenecks that have robbed the economy of the full benefits of these projects.
3A device shaped like the neck of a bottle, worn on a guitarist’s finger to produce special sound effects.
Example sentences
  • He uses shadowy ghostings of pedal steel or slide blues tonality, though there are no bottlenecks in sight.
  • There's fast blues and slow blues, and major blues and minor blues, and the kind of blues you play with a bottleneck and the strings already tuned to a chord.
  • When Fred sat down with his guitar and a bottleneck, everyone joined in.
3.1 (also bottleneck guitar) The style of guitar playing that uses a device shaped like the neck of a bottle worn on the finger.
Example sentences
  • Nevertheless, while the technique of slide or bottleneck guitar may owe something to the touring Hawaiian ensembles so popular in the late 1880s and '90s, the substance and content was an unmistakable African retention
  • No Hero's bottleneck guitar screeches and wails in tandem.
  • Acoustic bottleneck guitar, oblique keyboard phrases, electric licks distilled from Lynyrd Skynyrd, galvanised British 1960s psychedelia, and hooks stronger than Tyson on the comeback trail combine to create a glorious album.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: bot·tle·neck

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