melt·​down | \ ˈmelt-ˌdau̇n How to pronounce meltdown (audio) \

Definition of meltdown

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the accidental melting of the core of a nuclear reactor
2 : a rapid or disastrous decline or collapse
3 : a breakdown of self-control (as from fatigue or overstimulation)

melt down

melted down; melting down; melts down

Definition of melt down (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to suffer a meltdown : collapse

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Synonyms for meltdown

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of meltdown in a Sentence

Noun fears that an accident could cause meltdown a company experiencing financial meltdown After a long day at the beach, our toddler had a major meltdown in the car on the way home. Verb apparently beset by personal problems, the actor proceeded to melt down before startled theatergoers
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Eranga Jayawardena/Associated Press COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Sri Lankans on Saturday voted for president after a year of political meltdowns and deadly terrorist attacks, in an election that could return the polarizing Rajapaksa family to power. Dharisha Bastians, New York Times, "In Sri Lanka’s Presidential Election, a Question of Security vs. Rights," 16 Nov. 2019 Restlessness, agitation, biting themselves, avoidance of people, meltdowns and constant stomach issues -- these might be signs that a therapist should be called. Washington Post, "Hints From Heloise: Credit creation," 12 Nov. 2019 Hill was naked, unarmed and suffering a mental meltdown when he was killed, and the case was seen as a touchstone regarding how police shootings should be handled in the justice system. Bill Torpy, ajc, "Torpy at Large: The takeaway when rendered justice feels unjust to all," 6 Nov. 2019 Skip to main content On The Border: Through Nov. 3, get the $5 Hallow’rita, a grande frozen margarita with a hint of mango puree, a candy corn meltdown and garnished with a spider ring. Kelly Tyko, USA TODAY, "Halloween 2019: Free food, deals and spooky specials at Krispy Kreme, Chipotle and more," 27 Oct. 2019 So when Heckathorne was suddenly absent from Quentin’s classroom, without explanation from District 65, her son, who has limited verbal ability, began to have meltdowns and sleep problems, Alsberg said. Karen Ann Cullotta,, "A transgender teacher in Evanston says their school district has been slow to address gender identity concerns," 25 Oct. 2019 But figuring out how to keep your bank account and family happy (meltdowns and sibling spats, no thanks!) can be overwhelming. Kristi Valentini, Good Housekeeping, "How to Plan a Stress-Free Family Trip, According to Moms Who Know Best," 15 Oct. 2019 Major miscommunications, full-on meltdowns and chilly reprimands ensue., "Zadie Smith’s fifth novel, “," 4 Oct. 2019 Fan exasperation appears to be reaching a similar level to the final weeks of the Mora era, if the message board meltdown and near-record-low attendance at the Rose Bowl last weekend are any indication. Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times, "Chip Kelly says poor practices contributed to UCLA’s loss to San Diego State," 9 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'meltdown.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of meltdown


1956, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1956, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for meltdown

Time Traveler

The first known use of meltdown was in 1956

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Statistics for meltdown

Last Updated

6 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Meltdown.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 8 December 2019.

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More Definitions for meltdown


How to pronounce melt down (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of meltdown

: an accident in which the core of a nuclear reactor melts and releases radiation
: a very fast collapse or failure
chiefly US, somewhat informal : a very fast loss of emotional self-control

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More from Merriam-Webster on meltdown

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with meltdown

Nglish: Translation of meltdown for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of meltdown for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about meltdown

Comments on meltdown

What made you want to look up meltdown? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to constrict the range or activity of

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