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Hannes Arch Kirchheim 3.jpg


tail +‎ spin


tailspin (plural tailspins)

  1. (aviation) The rapid, uncontrollable descent of an aircraft in a steep spiral.
    The loss of the third engine threw the plane into a tailspin.
  2. (figuratively) A severe mental or emotional collapse; emotional breakdown.
    Just hours after leaving the institution, she suffered another tailspin.
  3. (figuratively) Any sharp, sustained, often uncontrollable descent or decline.
    The present stock tailspin proves bankruptcy is imminent.
    • 2007, Perspectives on climate change, Washington : U.S. G.P.O., →ISBN, page 49:
      But I was reading a statement that either you made or was part of your movie, “An Inconvenient Truth”, and it said we have just 10 years to avert a major catastrophe that could send our entire planet into a tailspin of epic destruction involving extreme weather, floods, droughts, epidemics and killer heat waves beyond anything we have ever experienced.
    • 2010 September, Chris Sommers, "Merge", St. Louis magazine, ISSN 1090-5723, volume 16, issue 9, page 77:
      St. Louis, the fourth-largest U.S. city in 1900, is fading fast [] . Jobs, and airline, an educated population—all gone or in a tailspin.



tailspin (third-person singular simple present tailspins, present participle tailspinning, simple past and past participle tailspun or tailspinned)

  1. Of an aircraft: to go into a rapid, uncontrollable descent in a steep spiral.
  2. (figuratively) To go into a sharp, sustained, often uncontrollable descent or decline.


See also[edit]