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

After pulling out of the agreement last year, the Trump administration in May tightened its sanctions to penalize anyone in the world who seeks to buy Iranian oil, slashing Iranian exports and plunging the economy into a tailspin. New York Times, "He Enjoys American Coffee and Restaurants. Is He a Credible Negotiator for Iran?," 4 July 2019 The supposed strike was canceled last minute by Trump and the administration instead imposed another round of crippling sanctions that have sent Iran's economy into a tailspin. Fox News, "Iran fires back at White House over claims it has been violating nuclear deal for years: 'Seriously?'," 3 July 2019 This summit offers an important chance to stave off a prolonged trade war between the world's two largest economies, one that would throw the entire global economy into a tailspin. Myron Brilliant For Cnn Business Perspectives, CNN, "The trade deal Trump and Xi should agree on at G20," 28 June 2019 Nebraska went into a tailspin this season, but Roby spent most of the year playing out of position at the five. Jeremy Woo, SI.com, "2019 NBA Draft Big Board 7.0: Top 100 Prospect Rankings," 5 June 2019 September 11, 2001 shocked the nation, sending communities everywhere into a tailspin. Claire Gibson, Marie Claire, "Why My Relationship With Camo Print Is Messy," 29 Apr. 2019 After assisting the iconic Madrid designer Sybilla during the relaunch of her company a few years ago, Rosales wound up befriending Alejandro Gómez, whose upstart Spanish label, Palomo, has sent the menswear category into a decadent tailspin. Laura Regensdorf, Vogue, "Meet the Madrid Artist Whose Cinematic Beauty Looks Are Straight out of an Almodovar Movie," 23 Aug. 2018 That, of course, sends Kevin into a tailspin later. Candice Frederick, Harper's BAZAAR, "This is Us Season 3 Episode 10: Randall Wins the Race as He and Beth Reach an Impasse," 16 Jan. 2019 That spurred a historic bubble, which collapsed in the early 1990s, sending Japan into a tailspin. Peter Landers, WSJ, "The Old U.S. Trade War With Japan Looms Over Today’s Dispute With China," 13 Dec. 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

9 Jul 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).


food or victuals

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

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!