Share this entry

meltdown Syllabification: melt·down
Pronunciation: /ˈmeltˌdoun/

Definition of meltdown in English:


1A disastrous event, especially a rapid fall in share prices: the 1987 stock market meltdown
More example sentences
  • It's been a long time since I've had a major meltdown, and this time it was just about a puppy.
  • Perhaps the most critical lesson learned from last year, however, is the heavy price corporate reputations pay for such meltdowns.
  • While no one expects hedge-fund values to be listed in the daily newspapers, everyone would be relieved if fewer meltdowns appeared in the headlines.
1.1 informal An outburst of severe emotional distress; a nervous breakdown: they wondered what could have triggered her meltdown
More example sentences
  • Megan still has meltdowns, or tantrums, because she finds it very difficult to communicate.
  • Computer geeks are extremely unlikely to suffer one of those spectacular emotional meltdowns that make for good television.
  • Margo's spectacular meltdown at a dinner party is so effective because there are barbs of truth sprinkled in with the vain wailing and gnashing of teeth.
2An accident in a nuclear reactor in which the fuel overheats and melts the reactor core or shielding.
Example sentences
  • I was 21 years old and it was three days after the partial meltdown of the reactor core.
  • Some nuclear critics had asserted that a core meltdown would inevitably breach containment.
  • A year ago one of the company's nuclear plants came dangerously close to a core meltdown.

Words that rhyme with meltdown

markdown • letdown

Definition of meltdown in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources