The application of a finite shear to a system after a long rest may result in a decrease of the viscosity or the consistency. If the decrease persists when the shear is discontinued, this behaviour is called work softening (or shear breakdown), whereas if the original viscosity or consistency is recovered this behaviour is called thixotropy.
PAC, 1979, 51, 1213. 'Terminology and Symbols in Colloid and Surface Chemistry Part 1.13. Definitions, Terminology and Symbols for Rheological Properties' on page 1217 (https://doi.org/10.1351/pac197951051213)