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 The handy thing about this hike is its location: close enough to avoid a freeway meltdown, easy enough to be home by dinner. Los Angeles Times, "6 hikes perfect for a Mother’s Day picnic," 6 May 2021 And while Chicago took advantage of its championship window, Green Bay has had one playoff meltdown after another. Rob Reischel, Forbes, "Packers Quarterback Aaron Rodgers Calls His Own GM Jerry Krause," 5 May 2021 The first 100 people who order the drink at each restaurant get a meltdown with a commemorative shot glass. Kelly Tyko, USA TODAY, "Cinco de Mayo deals: Get a free Chipotle burrito, free guacamole from 'The Rock' and save on margaritas," 5 May 2021 Instead of enjoying his brilliance, another bullpen meltdown drew our venom. Star Tribune, "For Twins' latest total system failure, check out the bullpen," 5 May 2021 Pete Alonso capped New York’s six-run eighth inning with a three-run double, and the Mets used a defensive meltdown by Philadelphia and a replay reversal to beat the Phillies 8-7 on Sunday night. Kevin Cooney, ajc, "Alonso, Mets top Phillies 8-7 after replay reversal," 3 May 2021 The series of spectacles helped keep the attention away from the crisis affecting migrant laborers and a meltdown of the healthcare system and the economy during the first wave. Debasish Roy Chowdhury, Time, "It Isn't Just Modi. India’s Compliant Media Must Also Take Responsibility for the COVID-19 Crisis," 3 May 2021 Garoppolo serves as insurance, in the event of injury or rookie meltdown. Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle, "49ers: Jimmy Garoppolo to Trey Lance could be an awkward handoff," 29 Apr. 2021 What was once called a miracle in Music City increasingly looks like a meltdown. Steven Malanga, WSJ, "The Music City Meltdown," 28 Apr. 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

10 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Meltdown.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 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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