Go into a tailspin and send someone into a tailspin

The phrases go into a tailspin and send someone in to a tailspin are idioms dating from the turn of the twentieth century. We will examine the meaning of the expressions go into a tailspin and send someone into a tailspin, where they came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

To go into a tailspin means to sink into a state of hysteria or panic, to deteriorate into an anxious mental state. To send someone into a tailspin means to cause someone to sink into a state of hysteria or panic, to deteriorate mentally. These idioms are derived from aviation. In the early years of piloting airplanes, it was easy top go into a tailspin, which is called a spin today. A spin occurs when an airplane rotates on a vertical axis as it drops. Most early pilots did not know how to pull out of a tailspin successfully, so once an airplane was in a tailspin, a crash was virtually inevitable. The word tailspin came into use in the 1910s, and the phrases go into a tailspin and send someone into a tailspin came into figurative use as idioms in the 1920s. Related phrases are goes into a tailspin, went into a tailspin, going into a tailspin, sends someone into a tailspin, sent someone into a tailspin, sending someone into a tailspin.

Examples

If the economy – knocked about by trade wars and government shutdowns – should go into a tailspin, the BIA would like to make sure that any money not spent at the end of the year lapse back into the fund. (The New Hampshire Business Review)

In 2008 and 2009, the banks and other lenders, overwhelmed with defaults and foreclosures, throttled back so hard on credit that demand collapsed, and housing prices went into a tailspin. (Fortune Magazine)

When he finally plunged into darkness, Porter said it sent him into a tailspin, and he began drinking heavily to escape and started smoking marijuana. (The Argus Observer)

Ranallo’s struggles with bipolar disorder, sometimes called manic depression, began as a teenager when his best friend passed away, sending him into a tailspin. (The Orlando Sentinel)

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