Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The rapid descent of an aircraft in a steep, spiral spin.
  • n. Informal A loss of emotional control sometimes resulting in emotional collapse.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The rapid, uncontrollable descent of an aircraft in a steep spiral.
  • n. A severe mental or emotional collapse; emotional breakdown.
  • n. Any sharp, sustained, often uncontrollable descent or decline.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. loss of emotional control often resulting in emotional collapse
  • n. rapid descent of an aircraft in a steep spiral

Etymologies

Compound of tail + spin. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The climate is in tailspin What are you waiting for?

    vert - French Word-A-Day

  • My theory on the tailspin is because the Indians are built around so many talented young players who found winning easy last year.

    USATODAY.com - Indians have GM Shapiro wondering

  • SNOW: He really has, and that word tailspin just as indicative of how fierce, though, the competition is here.

    CNN Transcript Dec 27, 2007

  • This notion that the Albemarle economy is in a tailspin is absolute bunk.

    Mixed Bag of Election Results at cvillenews.com

  • Microsoft is sinking fast in this market already, and whether Windows Phone 7 can pull them out of their tailspin is the billion-dollar question.

    The Register

  • She passed away suddenly the summer before our senior year, and it threw Jamie in the kind of tailspin I can only imagine.

    it's that little souvenir of a terrible year

  • Mr. LEVIN: That created a kind of tailspin for him because he realized that this guy could do something that he couldn't do.

    Mozart's Last Symphony: The Giant 'Jupiter'

  • Meredith goes into a mini-freakout about how terrible a mother she'd be, but it's like an eighth of the kind of tailspin she used to fall into, and pretty much holds it together.

    From Inside the Box

  • Obama's speech in New York on Monday will push Congress to take action on regulatory reform to prevent the kind of tailspin that the economy went through last year.

    Market News

  • An item from Fox News claims that Lohan's career is now in a "tailspin," and follows up on that headline with a nail-in-the-coffin quote from Hollywood publicist Michael Levine, former PR man for Michael Jackson: "Her employability over the next five years is impossible.

    Lindsay Lohan: The aftermath of the sentence

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