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collapse, stability, calm, control


TOEFL 10, High School 9, Chaos and Confusion



How to pronounce meltdown (audio)


Dictionary definition of meltdown

A state of severe or catastrophic failure, breakdown, or collapse, often accompanied by an intense emotional or psychological reaction.
"The stock market experienced a financial meltdown, causing panic among investors."

Detailed meaning of meltdown

It is commonly used to describe situations where there is a complete loss of control, functionality, or composure. In a literal sense, "meltdown" can refer to a nuclear accident or a catastrophic failure of a reactor resulting in the release of dangerous radiation. However, the term is more commonly used metaphorically to describe emotional or psychological breakdowns. It implies a loss of emotional regulation or stability, often leading to intense outbursts, irrational behavior, or a complete inability to cope with a situation. "Meltdown" can occur in various contexts, including personal relationships, workplaces, or even in financial markets. It conveys a sense of intense pressure or overwhelming stress, causing an individual or system to unravel and lose control.

Example sentences containing meltdown

1. The nuclear power plant experienced a catastrophic meltdown, leading to a major environmental disaster.
2. The stock market suffered a meltdown, causing panic among investors.
3. The toddler had a meltdown in the grocery store, throwing a tantrum in the cereal aisle.
4. The ice cream shop ran out of their popular flavor, causing a meltdown among disappointed customers.
5. The stress of the job led to a mental meltdown, leaving her unable to cope with the pressure.
6. The company's financial meltdown resulted in layoffs and budget cuts.

History and etymology of meltdown

The noun 'meltdown' has an interesting etymology that draws from both its literal and metaphorical meanings. In its literal sense, 'meltdown' is primarily associated with nuclear reactors. It is formed by blending 'melt' and 'down,' where 'melt' refers to the process of a substance turning from a solid to a liquid state due to extreme heat. The term 'meltdown' was originally used to describe a catastrophic failure in a nuclear reactor, where the core would overheat, leading to the melting of the reactor's components. Metaphorically, 'meltdown' came to describe any severe or catastrophic failure, breakdown, or collapse, often accompanied by intense emotional or psychological reactions. This figurative usage of the term highlights its origins in the dramatic and potentially devastating consequences of nuclear accidents and its broader application to various situations of crisis and emotional distress.

Quiz: Find the meaning of meltdown

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Further usage examples of meltdown

1. The computer system had a meltdown, causing all operations to come to a halt.
2. The celebrity's public meltdown was captured by paparazzi, fueling tabloid headlines.
3. The hot weather caused a meltdown of the ice sculptures at the festival.
4. The negotiations between the two countries reached a meltdown, leading to a breakdown in diplomatic relations.
5. The athlete experienced a physical and emotional meltdown after losing the championship.
6. The child had a meltdown when his favorite toy broke, inconsolable with grief.
7. The stress of the situation caused a meltdown, resulting in a loss of composure.
8. The chocolate bar left in the sun had a messy meltdown, turning into a gooey mess.
9. The chef had a culinary meltdown when a dish didn't turn out as expected, throwing pans in frustration.
10. The server experienced a technical meltdown, crashing the website and causing inconvenience for users.
11. The political debate turned into a heated meltdown, with candidates exchanging personal attacks.
12. The team had a meltdown in the final minutes of the game, losing the lead and ultimately the match.
13. The artist had a creative meltdown, feeling uninspired and struggling to produce new work.
14. The student had a meltdown before an important exam, overwhelmed by anxiety and fear.
15. The child had a meltdown in the grocery store when his favorite snack was not available.
16. The nuclear power plant had a near-meltdown, resulting in a temporary evacuation of the surrounding area.
17. The company faced a PR meltdown after a controversial statement by its CEO.
18. The athlete had a meltdown on the field, throwing his equipment in frustration.
19. The computer system had a meltdown, leading to a complete shutdown and loss of data.
20. The actress had a meltdown backstage, unable to cope with the pressure of the performance.
21. The project team was in a state of meltdown as the deadline approached and progress lagged.
22. The celebrity's public meltdown was captured by paparazzi and splashed across tabloid headlines.
23. The relationship between the two friends reached a meltdown point after a series of misunderstandings.
24. The toddler had a meltdown when her ice cream cone fell to the ground.
25. The politician's scandal led to a political meltdown and a loss of public trust.

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