train wreck

or train·wreck

[ trein-rek ]


  1. an accident in which a train or trains are severely damaged.
  2. Slang. a person who has experienced a personal failure, disaster, etc.
  3. Slang. a disastrous situation, occurrence, or process:

    His football career has been a train wreck.

train wreck


  1. an incident in which a train is severely damaged
  2. informal.
    something or someone that has suffered ruin or calamity
“Collins English Dictionary — Complete & Unabridged” 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Discover More

Word History and Origins

Origin of train wreck1

First recorded in 1870–75
Discover More

Example Sentences

People don’t believe it’s happening anyway, and the narrative that it’s a train wreck in Congress is a pretty easy story to tell.

The momfluencer rose with Instagram, but the moms of TikTok are less Real Housewives and more real train wrecks.

From Ozy

These days, she braces for every interview to include a question about Ryan Adams, the alt-country train wreck whose 2019 scandal derailed a project they were working on.

The raw confidence in its action systems, enemies and mechanics inspired a generation of action game directors, who would then go on to lead their titles with similarly panicked introductions, like the train wreck of “Uncharted 2.”

Or for the first time, if you missed the glorious train-wreck that was the Sex Pistols.

We love a train wreck because it makes us feel better about our own problems.

Aides quickly stopped the conversation, which one previously described in testimony as “a train wreck.”

This is, after all, the network that recently aired the train wreck that was The Sound of Music Live!

There can be no train wreck without first inventing the train.

Twice I booked for Sydney on my own—missed one boat through a train wreck, and the other was libeled at the dockhead.

In a train wreck, a soldier asserted that he had seen dozens of smashed corpses, although only one person was harmed.

She might have been killed in a train wreck or been married to the ape-trainer or gone to some other horrible conclusion.

That, of course, made it more than just an ordinary train wreck.

Next morning we found ourselves stranded at Plaquemine, by reason of a train wreck a few miles ahead.