Try Our Apps


What is the origin of "December"?


[teyl-spin] /ˈteɪlˌspɪn/
noun, Also, tail spin
spin (def 23).
a sudden and helpless collapse into failure, confusion, or the like.
verb (used without object), tailspinned, tailspinning.
to take or experience a sudden and dramatic downturn:
After the mill closes, the local economy may tailspin.
Origin of tailspin
1910-15; tail1 + spin Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for tailspin
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • A warning from the observation towersomebody was in tailspin.

    Famous Flyers David Goodger (
  • Many a time Ive seen you pull your plane out of a tailspin and make a perfect landing.

    Gypsies of the Air Bess Moyer
  • Yes, he had all but gone into a tailspin, and that with his motor thundering at its best.

    Riddle of the Storm Roy J. Snell
  • Instantly the heavy plane went into a tailspin and plunged earthward.

    Riddle of the Storm Roy J. Snell
  • She side-slipped, her nose dipped down, an she went into a tailspin.

    Famous Flyers David Goodger (
British Dictionary definitions for tailspin


(aeronautics) another name for spin (sense 16)
(informal) a state of confusion or panic
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for tailspin

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for tailspin


Related Terms

blow it out

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with tailspin


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Word Value for tailspin

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for tailspin