English Language Meltdown Synonym Explained
I am sure we have all had a meltdown at some point in our lives. With a rather famous female tennis world champion having a meltdown recently we thought it might help you to understand what a meltdown is and explain some meltdown synonyms (A synonym is a word having the same or similar meaning to another word).
So it is time to learn about "Going Bananas" (possibly an English only phrase?) or having a breakdown. Nuclear meltdowns, and a lot of things, make this English language lesson fun and interesting to listen to.
Hi there, I’m Hilary and welcome to this latest podcast from Adept English. This is our Monday podcast and if you listen regularly, you’ll know that the aim of Adept English is to help you with your understanding of spoken English and to help you also with your fluency, when you come to speak English. So listen to this podcast a number of times, until you understand it all and then repeat your listening a few more times, so that the words and phrases stick in your head – and you’ll remember them!
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Meltdown Is Also A Synonym For Emotional Breakdown
So in English, a phrase that you’ll sometimes hear is that someone is ‘having a meltdown’, so a verb ‘to have a meltdown’. So it might be ‘Oh, my daughter was having a meltdown in the car on the way to school this morning!’. Or another example, ‘My boss had a meltdown the other day – and shouted at everybody in the department’. So if someone ‘has a meltdown’, it means that they become so full of an emotion, so full of a feeling that it’s too much and they lose control of their emotions.
And what emotions are they? Well often ‘having a meltdown’ is used when someone becomes upset or tearful. The daughter in the car in the example I gave before, might be in tears, upset, crying over something she’s worried about at school. But ‘having a meltdown’ can also mean someone is angry. So the boss at work example above, where the boss gets so angry, he ends up shouting at everyone – well, that’s an angry meltdown. So ‘to have a meltdown’ means that you become so emotional you just can’t keep it inside – and everyone around gets to see a display of your emotion. There’s more emotion than you can control, in other words.
Tantrum or Breakdown or Going Bananas Are Related Words For Meltdown
An example, which has been much discussed in the news recently was that of Serena Williams, the tennis player, who certainly could be said to have ‘had a meltdown’ in the middle of her tennis match. Whatever the rights and wrongs of that situation, she lost control – another phrase we might use – she ‘lost her cool’ and she had a very public meltdown.
There’s been lots of criticism of Serena Williams since, partly because she’s such a well-known figure who you would expect to know better and to set an example. But it also doesn’t help that she’s not apologised for her meltdown, she’s not said ‘Sorry’ since. It didn’t make Serena Williams look very good. However, most of us ‘have a meltdown’ at some point – but perhaps it’s just a bit less public that of Serena Williams.
You Can Also Have a Nuclear Meltdown
So where does the phrase come from? Well, the verb ‘to melt’ refers to when a substance stops being solid and becomes a liquid. If you’re eating an ice cream or an ice lolly, and the sun is shining on it, and it starts to run down your arm, we’ll say it’s melting. Snow melts when the weather gets warmer – so the verb ‘to melt’ can be used in many contexts. The word ‘meltdown’ however tends to be associated with nuclear meltdown. So think of the reactor at Chernobyl in 1986 or the accident in Fukushima in 2011. Both these are very serious incidents of course, and the word ‘meltdown’ is a non-technical word for what happened inside these nuclear reactors. Nuclear power was involved and thing got out of control – so inevitably that’s serious. And much more serious of course, than someone losing their temper in the middle of a tennis match! But we’re talking here about a person having a temporary meltdown, rather like a nuclear reactor. Fortunately not so serious.
Another phrase which you could use to refer to someone who is ‘having a meltdown’, or who has ‘lost their cool’? Well, you might hear people say ‘She went bananas!’ or even ‘She went bananas with him’. I have no idea where this comes from or why we say someone ‘goes bananas’ - a verb ‘to go bananas’. In case you’re still wondering, yes a banana is a yellow fruit. So ‘to go bananas’ tends to mean that either the person gets very angry with someone else maybe, so for example, ‘My mother went bananas with me when I spilt coffee all over her new sofa’. Or the other time you’ll hear it, is to say ‘I’ll go bananas’ when something is difficult to cope with. So an example of this might be ‘I’d go bananas if I have to stay at home on my own for five days with no one to talk to’.
The Clinical Term For Meltdown Is Breakdown
I looked online for news headlines which involved the phrase ‘to go bananas’. All the ones to do with ‘having a meltdown’ are about Serena Williams, of course. So these are the examples I found, which made me smile. One newspaper headline was from the BBC and it was ‘Nottingham mum goes bananas over £930 Asda bill’. This was a story about a woman from the city of Nottingham being charged £930 for a single banana when she bought her shopping online, with the supermarket Asda. Another news headline was ‘Donna the elephant goes bananas at Whipsnade Zoo’.
So these headlines show the phrase being used, but actually these news stories behind the headlines aren’t actually about someone losing their cool, having a meltdown or indeed going bananas. Instead they’re all news stories which involve bananas. But because ‘to go bananas’ is a phrase which we all know and which might make us smile, this is what’s used in the headline. In English, when we use words or phrases with a double meaning like this, it’s called a pun. Newspaper headlines like to use puns all the time. It may be that the same thing happens in your language – or it may be that this is confusing when you’re trying to learn English.
Some everyday examples of meltdown used in an English sentence
So here are a couple more examples of these two phrases being used, just to help anchor them in your head:-
- I went bananas when I was leaving the car park and the barrier at the exit crashed down on the roof of my car.
- That politician had a meltdown when he was on a TV programme and he left in the middle of an interview.
- The audience went bananas whenever he appeared on stage.
- The Great British Bake-Off is on TV in the UK at the moment and it’s interesting to see which baker will have a meltdown next week.
So, please try not to ‘have a meltdown’ or ‘go bananas’, but do remember our discount code for this week is ‘BANANAS156’.
Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.
It is super important to remember that our English audio lessons are designed to deliver more than what is in the headline. Although we talk about Tennis and Nuclear Meltdowns the real value in this lesson was the native British English used.
80% of this lessons value is in the common English language used to talk about this weeks fun and interesting topic.
If you listen to this spoken English many times you will train your brain to automatically understand and translate English quickly. This is a fundamental to you becomming fluent in spoken English.
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