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