Definition of tailspin in English:



  • 1A spin by an aircraft.

    • ‘About 600 miles out, Erwin broadcast a frantic message that he was in a tailspin and headed for the ocean below.’
    • ‘The plane then went into a tailspin, rushing towards the ground below.’
    • ‘They don't pull the joystick until the tailspin is imminent.’
    1. 1.1 A state of rapidly increasing chaos or panic.
      ‘the rise in interest rates sent the stock market into a tailspin’
      • ‘Affirmative action in construction contracting programs is in a tailspin, with some cities bailing out of what they now see as a legally risky enterprise.’
      • ‘Currently US airlines are in a tailspin over the decline in passengers taking to the air.’
      • ‘Commercial airlines were in a tailspin, and Boeing was caught in the downdraft.’
      • ‘A revamping of its board, new designer offerings and the upgrading of stores have failed to pull Marks & Spencer out of its tailspin.’
      • ‘The auto industry began 2001 in a tailspin, with dozens of General Motors, Ford and Chrysler plants temporarily idled for periods of a week or more.’
      • ‘Their shaky logic may have failed in court (at least on appeal), but it did destroy Reems's life, sending him into a tailspin of alcohol abuse and financial and personal despair.’
      • ‘The stock price of the combined company declined more than 75 percent as Wall Street went into a tailspin and advertising swooned.’
      • ‘With business activity fading and IT investment in a tailspin, many now fear that productivity will continue to hit the skids.’
      • ‘The true picture is of an economy driven by consumer debt, which faces a collapse in house prices that would send consumer spending into a tailspin and see a corresponding growth in poverty and unemployment.’
      • ‘The Hornets won six straight before he returned, then they immediately went into a tailspin - just as they did when he returned the first time and they lost five in a row.’
      • ‘Many of them are fantastic at telling you what has happened last year or promising more of the same when times are good, but precious few spot the early warning signals that can flash amber well ahead of the tailspin.’
      • ‘From then on, your looks are thrown into a tailspin with out-of-control tresses, skin problems and misbehaving makeup, all seeming to need time-consuming fixes.’
      • ‘His low point seemed to be the summer of 1994, when the baseball strike put the peanut and Crackerjack industries into a tailspin.’
      • ‘The one-time Silicon Valley highflier, which makes software companies use to manage salespeople and call centers, has been in a tailspin for three years.’
      • ‘The collapse of Enron last December initiated a chain reaction which uncovered serious accounting fraud at a number of US multinationals, and put Wall Street into a tailspin.’
      • ‘An Arsenal defeat could lead to a desperate tailspin damaging the two crucial cup ties that come along in February.’
      • ‘When the airline industry went into a tailspin, the government, banks and other backers rallied round.’
      • ‘The telecom industry was already in a tailspin, so no one wanted to take on the added risk of doing business in areas where they couldn't be sure they'd get paid.’
      • ‘An apparently minor problem, such as a flurry of downgrades, could quickly engulf the financial system by sending markets into a tailspin, wiping out hedge funds, and dragging down banks that lent them money.’
      • ‘The 22-year-old already is in a tailspin, having failed to get out of the fifth inning in each of his last three June starts.’


[no object]
  • Become increasingly chaotic and out of control.

    ‘an economy tailspinning into chaos’
    • ‘After the death of his sister, Vincent’s life began to tailspin out of control.’
    • ‘Someone very wise told me, when the economy started to tailspin, that there was no better time to start a company than during a down market, because if you can survive a down market you can survive anything.’
    • ‘But now, if the doom-mongers are to be believed, the group will tailspin and be sold off bit by bit to the highest bidder.’


First World War: from tail + spin (noun).