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tailspin

[teyl-spin]
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noun Also tail spin.
  1. spin(def 23).
  2. a sudden and helpless collapse into failure, confusion, or the like.
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verb (used without object), tail·spinned, tail·spin·ning.
  1. to take or experience a sudden and dramatic downturn: After the mill closes, the local economy may tailspin.
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Origin of tailspin

First recorded in 1910–15; tail1 + spin
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for tail-spin

tailspin

noun
  1. aeronautics another name for spin (def. 16)
  2. informal a state of confusion or panic
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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for tail-spin

tailspin

n.

"downward spiraling dive of an aircraft," 1916, from tail (n.1) + spin (n.). Figurative sense of "state of loss of control" is from 1928.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with tail-spin

tailspin

see go into a tailspin.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.