- The aftermath of a train crash.
- (figuratively) A disaster, especially one which is large in scale and readily seen by public observers.
- 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.
- (figuratively) Someone (especially a woman) who is unbalanced and considered a mess, a disaster, one who is suffering personal ruin.
- 2007, Donna Hogan, “blurb”, in Train Wreck: The Life and Death of Anna Nicole Smith, Phoenix Books Incorporated, →ISBN:
- She may have been a train wreck, but she was a train wreck people still can't seem to get enough of. The sordid but fascinating story of her vicious, no-holds-barred battle with life is one of the most gripping, sex-soaked biographies in years.
- 2016, Sady Doyle, Trainwreck, page 24:
- […] women, by and large, do not like themselves very much: their ambition gaps, their orgasm gaps, their imposter syndrome, […] their trainwrecks, and their need for trainwrecks; the enduring, self-loathing need to find someone about whom they can say well, at least I'm not that girl.
- In the UK, train crash is preferred for the literal sense, and car crash is more common but not exclusively used for the metaphorical sense.
wreckage of a train crash
- 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.
- To ruin utterly and catastrophically, to cause to end in disaster.
- 2003, Peter A. Laporta,, Ignite the Passion, AuthorHouse, →ISBN, page 57:
- […] basic fundamental communication steps must be achieved so not to train wreck the new employee.
- 2011, Jaden Lane, If You Could Read My Mind, Xlibris Corporation, →ISBN, page 157:
- "I want this, too, I want you. Like really want you more than anything I've wanted in a long time. But if you force it, you're going to train wreck the whole thing in a fiery mess over a steep cliff with jagged rocks below."
- For more quotations using this term, see Citations:trainwreck.
- 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.