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Definition of "nervous breakdown" [nervous breakdown]

  • A severe or incapacitating emotional disorder, especially when occurring suddenly and marked by depression. Not in scientific use. (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "nervous breakdown" in a sentence
  • "Shell-shocked in the blitz – bad nervous breakdown – ordered a country life."
  • "I’m just not sure that I haven’t had my final nervous breakdown and this isn’t all some psychotic-break trip."
  • "As the inevitable consequence of all this she grew up a highly neurotic woman - the flame of life in her brilliant, but ever-flickering and flaring; and that she was herself able to trace much of her debility in after life to having been educated "not wisely but too well" is clear; for after a bad nervous breakdown she wrote, "Too much of schooling hadst thou, poor Ophelia.""