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[doun-sahyz] /ˈdaʊnˌsaɪz/
verb (used with object), downsized, downsizing.
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, downsized. being of a smaller size or version:
a downsize car.
Origin of downsize
1970-75, Americanism; down1 + size1
Can be confused Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for downsize
  • In the last two years, however, helium became a focal point in the messy political struggle to downsize the federal budget.
  • It has been recently observed that as newspapers downsize their budgets reporting on education has been suffering.
  • Hold the party, but downsize it to signal that you are sensitive to the hardships around you.
  • But to process light, he needed to downsize the structure to be comparable to the wavelength of light itself.
  • As companies downsize and re-engineer themselves, one of the first things to go is basic research.
  • And you shouldn't necessarily count on being able to sell the big house and downsize to something cheaper.
  • Consultants were as valuable telling companies how to downsize as they were explaining how to expand.
  • If you need to sell quickly, to move or downsize, you can end up in big trouble.
  • Broadsheets that usually look down on tabloids are now rushing to downsize.
  • They will look to downsize, or rightsize, now that the nest is empty.
British Dictionary definitions for downsize


verb (transitive) -sizes, -sizing, -sized
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 microcomputers Compare 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
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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
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downsize in Culture

downsize definition

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.”

Note: 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 American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for downsize



To reduce the size of a company by eliminating employees, in order to increase profits (1980s+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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