tail·​spin | \ ˈtāl-ˌspin How to pronounce tailspin (audio) \

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

The oil sanctions pushed Venezuela’s already unraveling economy into a tailspin, but Mr. Maduro has been able to keep some revenue flowing by readjusting the country’s foreign trade to Asia, Russia and Turkey. Anatoly Kurmanaev, New York Times, "With Tougher U.S. Sanctions on Venezuela, Bolton Says ‘Time for Dialogue Is Over’," 6 Aug. 2019 The Chinese currency has now depreciated against the dollar, sending stock markets into a tailspin. Jeffrey Sachs For Cnn Business Perspectives, CNN, "China isn't the economic manipulator in this trade war. Trump is," 6 Aug. 2019 The moves, which came four days after Trump threatened more taxes on Chinese imports, knocked stock markets worldwide into a tailspin. Joe Mcdonald, Twin Cities, "Lashing back, China lets yuan drop, halts US farm purchases," 5 Aug. 2019 Kang returned in 2016 and hit 21 home runs before his career went into a tailspin after getting arrested in Seoul in December 2016 on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol. BostonGlobe.com, "Messi suspended three months for remarks," 2 Aug. 2019 Of note, Hannah admitted that whatever happened in the famed windmill in Greece didn’t happen twice, but four times, sending the audience (including Peter’s parents) and Twitter into a tailspin. Ben Flanagan | Bflanagan@al.com, al, "Hannah shares thoughtful message about gender politics ahead of finale; here’s our prediction," 30 July 2019 Even taking into account Thursday's jump, US oil prices remain in a tailspin. Matt Egan, CNN, "What the Gulf tanker attacks mean for oil and gas prices," 13 June 2019 After the withdrawal, the U.S. imposed harsh sanctions, including on Tehran’s oil trade, that have sent the Iranian economy into a tailspin. Robert Burns, SFChronicle.com, "Tensions escalate in Persian Gulf as UK says Iran seized 2 tankers," 19 July 2019 After the withdrawal, the US imposed harsh sanctions, including on Tehran’s oil trade, that have sent the Iranian economy into a tailspin. Robert Burns, BostonGlobe.com, "British official: Iranians have seized another vessel," 19 July 2019

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

20 Aug 2019

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 How to pronounce tailspin (audio) \

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).


to move or obtain by small maneuvers

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!