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 Somehow, despite the website’s meltdown, about 60,000 residents managed to reserve appointments that day., "A ‘center of gravity’ throughout the pandemic: Meet the woman behind the state’s COVID-19 response," 10 Apr. 2021 The Bears earned the top seed to the Big 12 tournament and, pending another postseason meltdown, were poised to nab that honor for the NCAA tournament as well. Laine Higgins, WSJ, "Baylor’s Long Road to Its First Men’s Basketball National Championship," 6 Apr. 2021 But Thursday, amid a bullpen meltdown that turned that 5-0 cushion into an 8-7 loss in 10 innings, Belt made a costly error during the fateful eighth inning that contributed to the collapse. John Shea, San Francisco Chronicle, "Giants' Brandon Belt makes no excuses for costly throw in opener," 2 Apr. 2021 At the outset, Rand breaks down what looked like a comfortable Twins opening day win that turned instead into a total ninth inning meltdown. Howard Sinker, Star Tribune, "Paige Bueckers, superstar; Twins opener, meltdown," 2 Apr. 2021 Here’s a look at the national reaction to Texas hiring Beard: Waiting for TT fan meltdown in 5...4...3...2... Dallas News, "‘Y’all can’t let us have anything nice’: Patrick Mahomes, others react to UT hiring Texas Tech coach Chris Beard," 1 Apr. 2021 The Trojans blasted the Ducks by 14 points in their only meeting, but USC fell flat on its face down the stretch, losing to Colorado and Utah in a two-week meltdown. John Canzano, oregonlive, "Canzano: A regular walk in the park for the Oregon Ducks," 27 Mar. 2021 Like most of his lies, this one leads to disaster and an emotional meltdown. Kristen Baldwin,, "Nasim Pedrad's Chad is cringe comedy gem: Review," 16 Mar. 2021 Then came the fateful ALCS, when Altuve turned the simplest throw in baseball — from second base to first, no complications — into a three-error meltdown that cost the Astros eight runs and turned the series in Tampa Bay’s favor. Bruce Jenkins, San Francisco Chronicle, "Dusty's cool, but are the fragile Astros ready for Oakland?," 30 Mar. 2021

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

16 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Meltdown.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Apr. 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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