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

break down, break up, crack, flip (out) [slang], freak (out), wig (out) [slang]

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Examples of meltdown in a Sentence


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.


apparently beset by personal problems, the actor proceeded to melt down before startled theatergoers
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The fund was established in 2014 with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Detroit Development Fund to help the city's economy recover from the financial meltdown of 2008. Jordan Valinsky, CNN, "JPMorgan has invested $150 million in Detroit. Now it's adding $50 million more," 26 June 2019 The trumpets of doom warned of financial meltdowns, civil wars and nuclear Armageddon. Fox News, "Gutfeld: The first 500 days of President Trump," 10 June 2018 Though prior episodes had seen Renata having meltdowns at the prospect of her husband’s financial malfeasance leading them to social humiliation, Sunday night’s reveals a more immediate loss. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "Big Little Lies Exhumes the Secrets of Marriage," 1 July 2019 Its flaw is having arrived in the wrong decade, a year after India’s #MeToo meltdown. Ananya Bhattacharya, Quartz India, "Dear woke India, where were you before Kabir Singh?," 28 June 2019 Mancini hit his eighth first-inning home run of the year and improved on what are some otherworldly statistics at the start of games, but that was largely overshadowed by another pitching meltdown that led to still another embarrassing loss. Peter Schmuck,, "There might not be a better first-inning hitter than the Orioles' Trey Mancini this season," 24 June 2019 The funeral meltdown is one of several Camille-Marian moments that isn't in the book, and the episode already hinted that the ghost of Marian is still a heavy presence in the house. Emily Yahr,, "'Sharp Objects' premiere features one major difference from Gillian Flynn's novel," 9 July 2018 Mercury governs communication and transporation, so when this planet goes backward, transit meltdowns are inevitable. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What July's Sagittarius Horoscope Means for You," 29 June 2018 Hingis was assessed a point penalty – and the meltdown was on. Chris Chase, For The Win, "16 biggest meltdowns in tennis history," 18 May 2018

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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Last Updated

19 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for meltdown

The first known use of meltdown was in 1956

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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

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