noun Also, tail spin.
spin ( def 21 ).
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.

1910–15; tail1 + spin

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
tailspin (ˈteɪlˌspɪn)
1.  aeronautics another name for spin
2.  informal a state of confusion or panic

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1917, "downward spiraling dive of an aircraft," from tail (n.1) + spin. Fig. sense of "state of loss of control" is from 1928.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


see go into a tailspin.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
Despite the huge increase in fishing effort, the overall catch went into a
It did spectacularly well for a number of years, then went into a tailspin.
Be careful not to put off a long overdue meeting as it could cause someone to
  go into an emotional tailspin.
The economy again went into a tailspin and the bank decided to retreat to zero
  six months later.
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