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meltdown (n.)

by 1922 as "an act or the process of melting metal;" by 1956 in reference to the accidental melting of the core of a nuclear reactor, from the verbal phrase (1630s), from melt (v.) + down (adv.). Metaphoric extension "breakdown in self-control" is attested since 1979.

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Definitions of meltdown from WordNet

meltdown (n.)
severe overheating of the core of a nuclear reactor resulting in the core melting and radiation escaping;
Synonyms: nuclear meltdown
meltdown (n.)
a disaster comparable to a nuclear meltdown;
there is little likelihood of a meltdown comparable to the American banking collapse in March 1933
From wordnet.princeton.edu