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 Green said Saturday’s meltdown bothered him even more. Rusty Simmons, San Francisco Chronicle, "Warriors' Draymond Green says he was 'dead-ass wrong' for getting ejected Saturday," 22 Feb. 2021 But the meltdown actually began 10 minutes earlier, when Ramey and redshirt junior guard Andrew Jones engaged in a heated confrontation after the latter fell asleep on defense and allowed a 3 by junior guard Sean McNeil (16 points). Nick Moyle, San Antonio Express-News, "No. 12 Texas suffers meltdown in loss to No. 13 West Virginia," 20 Feb. 2021 Her mother had been pregnant with her in March, 1979, when the meltdown at a nuclear plant on Three Mile Island, in Pennsylvania, transfixed the nation. Rebecca Tuhus-dubrow, The New Yorker, "The Activists Who Embrace Nuclear Power," 19 Feb. 2021 But also know that if the weight is getting too heavy and seems more like mayhem than minor meltdown, help is available. Star Tribune, "Help is nearby for a mental health crisis," 17 Feb. 2021 The reactors use gravity to aid with cooling mechanics or prevent traditional meltdown scenarios. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "Could a Nuclear Reactor Actually Last for Hundreds of Years?," 9 Feb. 2021 There are autistic occupational therapists that specialize in sensory processing who can be consulted to explain safe ways to provide proprioceptive, deep-pressure feedback to help w meltdown safety. Chris Murphy, Vulture, "Sia Says ‘Sorry’ to Autism Community, Adds Warning Label to Movie, Music, After Golden Globe Noms," 4 Feb. 2021 Team owner Sheila Ford Hamp was seen in the owner's box during the second-half meltdown. Kirkland Crawford, Detroit Free Press, "The misery of watching Detroit Lions: America comes together, shares Thanksgiving tradition," 26 Nov. 2020 Not surprisingly, investors started pulling money out of stocks during the March meltdown. Bernhard Warner, Fortune, "As investors pull back, this Big Tech darling is flirting with bear territory," 18 Sep. 2020

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

27 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Meltdown.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for meltdown



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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