The setence below is quoted from the defination of "shakeout" in Oxford dictionary:

an upheaval or reorganization of a business, market, or organization due to competition and typically involving streamlining and layoffs.

I decode "streamlining" as kind of "retrenching", trying to make the business or organization smaller in size.

I think the word also infers something like "being more efficient", because a steamlining vehicle goes faster...

Is that so?


Yes, that's right.

As you suggest, it's a metaphor that comes from streamlining a vehicle. Making the business smaller and reorganizing it is supposed to make it more efficient, just as you can make a vehicle move more efficiently by changing its shape and removing unnecessary portions.

This metaphor is relatively common. It's been in use since the 1930s, if not earlier. The Oxford English Dictionary gives its earliest use as 1935.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.