train wreck

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
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See also: trainwreck and train-wreck


Train wreck at Montparnasse Station, Paris, France, 1895.
English Wikipedia has an article on:

Alternative forms[edit]


train wreck (plural train wrecks)

  1. The aftermath of a train crash.
  2. (idiomatic) A disaster, especially one which is large in scale and readily seen by public observers.
    • 1986, Hugh Sidey, "The Presidency: Colliding with Realities," Time, 1 Sept.:
      There is a feeling in Washington that we are gathering at the side of the track to watch a gigantic economic train wreck one of these days.
    • 2007, Mel Odom, Blood Evidence[1], →ISBN, page 168:
      "Your personal life has been, and is, a train wreck."
    • 2009, Matthue Roth, Never Mind The Goldbergs
      “Hrmm. I see your stylist's been working nights.” He surveyed the train wreck of my hair in the rearview mirror.

Usage notes[edit]

  • In UK English, train crash is preferred for the literal sense, and car crash is more common but not exclusively used for the metaphorical sense.



The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


  • train wreck (slang): When the parts in an ensemble "collide" because the musicians are not playing together. Hal Leonard Pocket Music Dictionary, p. 122.
  • Train wreck: in jazz, when everything comes off the rails - someone misses a repeat, skips the bridge, and so on. Dolmetsch Online.
  • train wreck” (US) / “train wreck” (UK) in Oxford Dictionaries, Oxford University Press.