- the melting of a significant portion of a nuclear-reactor core due to inadequate cooling of the fuel elements, a condition that could lead to the escape of radiation.
- a quickly developing breakdown or collapse: a bond-market meltdown; the meltdown of a marriage.
- Informal. a sudden loss of control over one’s feelings or behavior: My toddler had a meltdown when I tried to leave the house.
Origin of meltdown
Examples from the Web for meltdown
The Big Five banks dubbed too big to fail, are 35 percent bigger than they were when the meltdown was triggered.Sen. Warren’s Main Street Crusade to Pressure Clinton
January 8, 2015
Last year, it began to recover a bit for the first time since the meltdown—it was logged at $52,100 in June 2013.
Then in 2008, the year of the meltdown, it dropped to $53,644.
The deficit is down to 2.8 percent of GDP, from a high of 10.1 percent in the wake of the meltdown.
After the most recent Avicii meltdown, an avid finger-pointing game has gone wild on the Web.Don't Blame Avicii For His Druggy Tour
June 27, 2014
- (in a nuclear reactor) the melting of the fuel rods as a result of a defect in the cooling system, with the possible escape of radiation into the environment
- informal a sudden disastrous failure with potential for widespread harm, as a stock-exchange crash
- informal the process or state of irreversible breakdown or declinethe community is slowly going into meltdown
Word Origin and History for meltdown
- Severe overheating of a nuclear reactor core, resulting in melting of the core and escape of radiation.
The most serious accident that can occur at a nuclear reactor. In a meltdown, the radioactive material in the reactor becomes very hot, melting some or all of the fuel in the reactor. A meltdown may or may not be followed by the release of radioactive material to the environment. A partial meltdown, with very little external radiation, occurred at Three Mile Island (see also Three Mile Island) in 1979; a complete meltdown happened at Chernobyl in 1986.