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

Keep scrolling for more

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

There were 90's inspired claw clips, scrunchies and one particularly memorable tiara on Kate Middleton that sent Londoners into a tailspin. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "10 Beauty Trends That Broke The Internet in 2018," 6 Dec. 2018 In 2015, after Turkish jet fighters downed a Russian warplane on the Syria-Turkey border, bilateral ties went into a tailspin. Thomas Grove, WSJ, "Fragile Syria Cease-Fire Tests Russia-Turkey Ties," 25 Nov. 2018 The accusations have thrown the once-formulaic Supreme Court confirmation process into a tailspin as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle try to figure out how to move forward with the hearings for President Trump’s pick. Andrew O'reilly, Fox News, "Kavanaugh classmate has no recollection of party where alleged sexual assault occurred," 19 Sep. 2018 Yet Viacom’s stock had been in a tailspin, losing half its value during the previous two years, and investors were clamoring for some kind of dramatic action. Keach Hagey, The Hollywood Reporter, "The Moment the War for Sumner Redstone’s Media Empire Really Began (Exclusive Book Excerpt)," 26 June 2018 Bitcoin and other digital currencies are in a tailspin. Chris Morris, Fortune, "One-Month Losses for the 10 Biggest Cryptocurrencies Top $134 Billion," 17 Jan. 2018 Republicans have been in a tailspin for years in California, where a diversifying population has grown increasingly Democratic in its leanings. Washington Post, "California Republicans see ray of hope in Democratic bastion," 6 June 2018 The song, naturally, is sending Swift fans into a tailspin for many reasons. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Taylor Swift's Fans Are Living for Her New Country Song With Sugarland," 20 Apr. 2018 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

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.

See More

First Known Use of tailspin

1917, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about tailspin

Statistics for tailspin

Last Updated

10 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tailspin

The first known use of tailspin was in 1917

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on tailspin

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tailspin

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tailspin

Spanish Central: Translation of tailspin

Nglish: Translation of tailspin for Spanish Speakers

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).


living or existing for a long time

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!