tail·spin | \ˈtāl-ˌspin \

Definition of tailspin 

2 : a mental or emotional letdown or collapse

3 : a sustained and usually severe decline or downturn stock prices in a tailspin

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Examples of tailspin in a Sentence

Stock prices are in a tailspin. The team went into a tailspin and lost six straight games.

Recent Examples on the Web

It’s much harder to stomach the torrent of bad headlines: a radical restructuring, a management shakeup, a stock in such a tailspin that the overseers of the Dow Jones industrial average gave it the boot this week after more than a century. Shirley Leung, BostonGlobe.com, "Boston’s bet on GE will still pay off," 27 June 2018 Since then, the O’s have been in a tailspin so severe that there really is no comparison in their history. Peter Schmuck, baltimoresun.com, "Schmuck: With Ravens waiting in the wings, this is perfect year to punt early on the Orioles," 7 July 2018 The Diamondbacks’ tailspin continued on Sunday with a 2-1 loss to the Oakland Athletics, an outcome that led to another series loss, completed a 1-8 road trip and extended their misery to 15 losses in their past 17 games. Nick Piecoro, azcentral, "Road trip ends with another Diamondbacks loss," 27 May 2018 Henderson attempted to stop the firm’s tailspin by ordering the Herbert Smith Freehills review of the Oakbay account. Ed Caesar, The New Yorker, "The Reputation-Laundering Firm That Ruined Its Own Reputation," 25 May 2018 But with double-digit inflation and a generally waning appetite for emerging markets, any sign that Turkey intends to loosen its monetary policy could alarm foreign investors, economists say, potentially sending the lira into a tailspin. David Gauthier-villars, WSJ, "New Turkish Finance Minister Vows to Fight Inflation," 13 July 2018 The rest has been a dismal tailspin into the fiery pit of hell, or Trump’s stomach after a long night with KFC. Stephen A. Crockett Jr., The Root, "How LaVar Ball’s Junior Basketball Association Has Become the Donald Trump of Roundball Leagues," 26 June 2018 A year later, the collapse of the Soviet Union sent Cuba’s economy into a tailspin that lasted until 1995. Molly Glentzer, Houston Chronicle, "Art Daybook: Belkis Ayón’s Cuban perspective," 20 June 2018 The show ended in 2001, just before our nation's still-ongoing political tailspin. K. Austin Collins, HWD, "Won’t You Be My Neighbor?," 8 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tailspin.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of tailspin

1917, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for tailspin

Last Updated

15 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tailspin

The first known use of tailspin was in 1917

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More Definitions for tailspin



English Language Learners Definition of tailspin

: a condition in which an airplane is falling rapidly while turning around and around

: a state in which something quickly becomes much worse


tail·spin | \ˈtāl-ˌspin \

Kids Definition of tailspin

: a dive by an airplane turning in a circle

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Comments on tailspin

What made you want to look up tailspin? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a state of commotion or excitement

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