melt down

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melt down

1. intransitive To melt from a solid to a liquid state. By the time the ceremony was over, the elaborate ice sculpture had melted down into a large puddle.
2. To cause something to melt from a solid to a liquid state. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "melt" and "down." He melts recycled scrap metal down and uses it in his sculptures.
3. Of a nuclear reactor core, to become so hot as to melt through the containment unit. The entire region has been a deserted wasteland ever since the nuclear power plant melted down ten years ago.
4. To go through extreme emotional duress; to have an emotional crisis or break down. More commonly worded as "have a meltdown." He was just trying to juggle too many things at work, and he ended up melting down.
See also: down, melt

melt something down

to cause something frozen to melt; to cause something solid to melt. The rays of the sun melted the candle down to a puddle of wax. The heat melted down the ice.
See also: down, melt

melt down

 
1. Lit. [for something frozen] to melt. The glacier melted down little by little. When the ice on the streets melted down, it was safe to drive again.
2. Fig. [for a nuclear reactor] to become hot enough to melt through its container. The whole system was on the verge of melting down.
See also: down, melt

melt down

v.
1. To melt from a solid into a liquid: As ice cubes melt down, the water level in the glass remains constant.
2. To cause something to melt from a solid into a liquid: The sun melted the snowman down into a puddle. I melted down the ice on the window with a hair dryer.
3. To overheat severely and melt, resulting in the escape of radiation from a nuclear reactor core: The nuclear reactor melted down, and thousands of people had to evacuate the area.
4. Slang To have an emotional breakdown: I was dealing with a lot of stress, and I melted down on the subway when it stopped between stations.
See also: down, melt
References in periodicals archive ?
Gramm's campaign is melting down, and not just because he's egotistical and "mean."
Patterson notes that lead pollution started to appear in Swedish lakes at roughly the time when Greece began coining silver, which was obtained by melting down lead ores.
As is by no means always the case when ephemeral journalism is captured in hard bindings, the gleanings gain critical mass, melting down into a coherent story about the city-- really a collection of villages--that glows with its own energy.
PAWNBROKER Albemarle & Bond issued its second profits warning in as many months as it said it had resorted to melting down gold items to stay within its debt limits.
She added: "It is melting down, with hotels right at the forefront of the collapse.
She still managed to broadcast though, even though the snow was pelting into her face and melting down her neck.