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 This sparked a series of disastrous events, leading to three of the plant's six reactor cores to mostly meltdown within three days. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Would Japan Dump Radioactive Water Into the Pacific Ocean?," 12 Sep. 2019 That's always a possibility but there's nothing written in stone that says every market peak will lead to a complete meltdown. Ben Carlson, Fortune, "Yes, The Market Will Eventually Crash. Here’s How to Be Ready For the Next One," 6 Sep. 2019 This result would of course increase the temperature of USC coach Clay Helton’s seat from merely sizzling to nuclear meltdown. Usa Today Sports, USA TODAY, "Bold predictions for Week 1 of the college football season," 30 Aug. 2019 Prior to the ninth-inning bullpen meltdown, Wednesday’s game was one of the best-pitched in Coors history. Patrick Saunders, The Denver Post, "Rockies lose, again, a fitting end to worst month in franchise history," 31 July 2019 But is also shows how people made the decisions that ultimately led to the meltdown: plant officials pushed for unsafe tests, and employees pushed the buttons, even knowing there could be consequences. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "The Chernobyl Podcast is a compelling behind-the scenes look at the HBO series," 23 June 2019 The liquidity coverage ratio rule was invented to protect banks from credit freezes similar to the 2008 financial meltdown. Lalita Clozel, WSJ, "What Will Banks Do With Cash Freed Up by Rule Changes? No One Knows.," 2 Nov. 2018 The series -- produced and distributed by The Cinemart, Hulu, Billboard and Mic -- will run down the events that lead up to the meltdown at the ultra-luxe festival developed by disgraced 25 year-old entrepreneur Billy McFarland and rapper Ja Rule. Gil Kaufman, Billboard, "Fyre Festival Docuseries Coming in 2019 From The Cinemart, Billboard & Mic," 16 Apr. 2018 And actually getting to eat instead of playing fetch with Matchbox cars or putting on a one-parent three-ring circus to entertain a kid who's thisclose to a meltdown. Kim Fusaro, Woman's Day, "Will Elmo Destroy My Toddler's Social Skills?," 14 Feb. 2012

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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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 engage in dissolute behavior

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