go into a tailspin

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go into a tailspin

1. Literally, to spiral to the ground, as of an airplane. The plane briefly went into a tailspin before the pilot was able to correct it.
2. By extension, to become emotionally unstable. Robin has wanted to go to that college for so long that I'm worried she'll go into a tailspin if she doesn't get in.
See also: go
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

go into a tailspin

 
1. Lit. [for an airplane] to lose control and spin to the earth, nose first. The plane shook and then suddenly went into a tailspin. The pilot was not able to bring the plane out of the tailspin, and it crashed into the sea.
2. . Fig. [for someone] to become disoriented or panicked; [for someone's life] to fall apart. Although John achieved great success, his life went into a tailspin. It took him a year to get straightened out. After her father died, Mary's world fell apart, and she went into a tailspin.
See also: go
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

go into a tailspin

Lose emotional control, collapse, panic. For example, If she fails the bar exam again, she's sure to go into a tailspin. This expression alludes to the downward movement of an airplane out of control, in which the tail describes a spiral. [Early 1900s]
See also: go
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Siddalee, eager for reconciliation, goes into a tailspin; she even postpones her wedding.